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Electronic Health Records News & Views Archives

January 2007 – April 2007

(in reverse chronological order)

(See menu on left for EHR Notable Quotes and latest News & Views)


April
2007





HIMSS first virtual conference launches May 16


The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society,
the professional organization known for staging the biggest
conference and exhibition in the healthcare IT industry each
year is launching something new this month – an event
designed to draw attendees from across the country while
eliminating the need to travel or book hotel rooms. The
HIMSS Virtual Conference and Expo runs May 16-17 online.
Like HIMSS convention hall conferences – the most recent one
in New Orleans – the virtual conference offers education
sessions, demonstrations, chances to network and to amble
through the exhibition hall. HIMSS President and CEO H.
Stephen Lieber said the organization’s intent is to present
its members with more resources. The virtual conferences are
planned for twice a year. The next one is set for Nov. 6-7.
They will be in addition to HIMSS annual conference, he
said, not replacements.

(April 30, 2007)



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PHR Translates into Other Languages




MyMedicalRecords.com has added multilingual functionality to
its Web-based personal health records software to aid users
who are traveling. The Los Angeles-based vendor can
translate a PHR to Spanish or Japanese and soon will add
Korean, French, German and Chinese. Other enhancements
include integrating the PHR’s calendar entries–such as
scheduled appointments–with a user’s Microsoft Outlook
calendar, sending reminders to up to three e-mail addresses
and a searchable medical encyclopedia. More information is
available at

mymedicalrecords.com
.


(April 30, 2007)



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CCHIT Certifies More EHRs


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology has certified 30 additional electronic health
records systems for ambulatory care. The industry-sponsored
commission, now working under a federal government contract,
has now certified 81 specific ambulatory EHR products and
believes 40% of such products are certified.

(April 30, 2007)



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Security Update Part of Fed Agenda




The federal government is getting ready to tighten the HIPAA
security rule in the wake of several incidents of
compromised patient data involving laptops and other mobile
computing devices. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services expects in July to propose a rule “intended to
provide a more prescriptive set of remote security
requirements designed to reduce the likelihood of
unauthorized uses and disclosures of sensitive health
information,” according to a notice published April 30 in
the Federal Register.


(April 30, 2007)



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AHIC works to expand boundaries of remote care


Government health care policy-makers met last week to
discuss ways to expand incentives for health care providers
to use telemedicine applications and systems. Members of the
American Health Information Community (AHIC)’s chronic care
workgroup met to try to remove rules that allow providers of
remote health care to be reimbursed by Medicare only if they
work in specific geographic areas and clinical settings.
Access to remote health care — or telemedicine — has
increased with the expanded use of health information
technology.

(April 30, 2007)



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CVS/Caremark Charitable Trust Will Award $2.5 million to
Rhode Island Quality Institute


The CVS/Caremark Charitable Trust, the private foundation
created by CVS/Caremark Corporation, announced today that it
plans to award a five-year $2.5 million grant to the Rhode
Island Quality Institute to fund its ongoing work to improve
the health and health care of Rhode Islanders.

(April 30, 2007)



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Nurses’ Involvement With IT Systems Increasing


As hospitals continue to develop and adopt electronic health
record systems, the demand for nurse informaticists, who can
serve as a link between IT and clinical care, has increased.

(April 30, 2007)



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U.S. Joins International EHR Terminology Standards Effort


HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Friday announced that the U.S.
will be one of nine member countries in an international
organization’s effort to encourage the worldwide adoption of
terminology standards for electronic health records.

(April 30, 2007)



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New Jersey hospital links to ‘sister’ facility on Staten
Island


Bayonne Medical Center, with Newark Bay on one side and
Upper New York Bay on the other, has completed a wireless
link to its sister hospital on Staten Island, 2 1/2 miles
across the channel. The link to Richmond University Medical
Center means the two hospitals can consolidate their help
desk functions, said Anthony Antinori, Bayonne’s IT
director. “We can share resources, he said. “We currently
have a large Citrix environment. We can run everything
remotely from Bayonne. ”

(April 30, 2007)



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Modern Healthcare and HIMSS Announce 2007 CEO IT Achievement
Award Recipients


The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
and Modern Healthcare have announced the recipients of this
year’s CEO IT Achievement Award. This year’s honorees are:
Alan Aviles, President & CEO, New York City Health &
Hospitals Corporation; John Ferguson, President & CEO,
Hackensack University Medical Center; Michael Murphy,
President & CEO, Sharp HealthCare


(April 30, 2007)



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SAP deal could simplify health info management


A new agreement between IT giants SAP AG and Microsoft Corp.
could lead to a groundbreaking integrated platform for
healthcare information management, SAP executives said last
week at the SAPPHIRE ’07 conference in Atlanta. The
companies announced that their Duet application, which
allows information workers to use SAP management systems in
Microsoft Office, would be expanded into two new versions,
the first of which is to be released at the end of 2008. The
new roadmap for Duet could have vital applications for
healthcare IT, according to Carlos Chou, senior vice
president for SAP America. “One of the major challenges of
adopting standardized solutions is user adoption,” said
Chou. “The level of the information user in any industry is
that they resist change.” He said user adoption rates would
increase if users didn’t have to use multiple programs to
perform business processes. “We bridge the processes to
allow the information worker to stay in the same place.”

(April 30, 2007)



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OhioHealth Gets E-Rx


The Columbus-based integrated delivery system OhioHealth has
purchased electronic prescribing software from RxNT,
Annapolis, Md… The delivery system is offering the
vendor’s application to more than 2,500 physicians at four
of its hospitals.

(April 30, 2007)



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The Digital Divide Between Doctors


When the FDA recalled Zelnorm last month because of findings
that patients using the drug risked heart attack and stroke,
Dr. Joseph Perkinson dropped his stethoscope and reached for
his laptop. From there, it took the family physician seconds
– not hours or days – to search thousands of medical records
and produce a digital list of his 40 or so patients
prescribed the drug. Sally McCoach was on that list of
patients telephoned. "It’s encouraging," McCoach, 67, said.
"You don’t have to wait a long time for them to go through
all the papers." McCoach is on a short list of U.S. and
Victoria patients whose doctors use electronic medical
records: paperless charts with vast medical information
stored on computers. It’s estimated that fewer than 20
Victoria physicians – and less than 10 percent of U.S.
doctors – use paperless systems that "store all necessary
data, allow electronic ordering of tests and provide
clinical reminders," the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
Electronic medical records are not new. But recent advances
have uploaded them into a new-age health policy debate.

(April 29, 2007)



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Let technology help to reshape our health care


After Neil Armstrong’s great leap for mankind, a common
lament became, "We can send a man to the moon but we can’t
cure the common cold." The gripe was that for all of our
scientific and technological advances, we couldn’t solve
simple health problems. Four decades later, we are on the
threshold of applying data, information and technology in
bold ways that could do far greater things than solving the
common cold. Our ability to aggregate, analyze and then
distribute vital health information will enable us to tackle
the most serious diseases and afflictions that human beings
face, and at the same time also help with very common health
issues. At the center of this health revolution will be the
simple act of sharing information.

(April 29, 2007)



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HHS Wants to Survey EHR Adoption


The Department of Health and Human Services is seeking
permission from the Office of Management and Budget to
conduct a survey later this year to measure the adoption of
electronic health records among physicians and group
practices.

(April 27, 2007)



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Katrina Aftermath Drives EHR Adoption in Louisiana


Early adopters of health IT in Louisiana say the technology
helped them care for patients during Hurricane Katrina, and
many providers who were dependent on paper records since
have adopted electronic health record systems.

(April 27, 2007)



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Georgia Telemedicine System Connects With Specialists


Mountain Lakes Medical Center in Rabun County, Ga., this
month launched a new telemedicine program that links local
patients with specialists at five hospitals via computers
and video technology.

(April 27, 2007)



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Wireless Health Care Devices Catching On


Wireless technology has been used in health care for
decades, but as microchips become more powerful, devices
decrease in size and battery life is prolonged, more and
more companies are beginning efforts to expand the use of
wireless technology.

(April 27, 2007)



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Healthcare IT big piece of ‘Medicare-for-All’


If Medicare is a good thing, then why not expand it? So say
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass. ), chairman of the Senate
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Rep.
John Dingell (D-Mich. ), chairman of the House Committee on
Energy and Commerce. The use of healthcare information
technology is key to the success of their proposal, they
say. In what they called “bold action” to address the ailing
U.S. healthcare system, the two staunch Democratic leaders
introduced April 25 a bill to make affordable healthcare
accessible to all Americans through a single payer – the
U.S. government.

(April 27, 2007)



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ONCHIT awards AHIC privatization contracts


Robert Kolodner, the head of the Office of the National
Coordinator for Health Information Technology, announced
Tuesday that his office has issued contracts to three firms
to help HHS plan for the transition of the American Health
Information Community to the private sector. AHIC was
created in 2005 by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. Chaired by
Leavitt and co-chaired by David Brailer, the former ONCHIT
head, it is a panel with 18 members, 10 of whom serve
various federal and state agencies that are providers,
purchasers or overseers of healthcare, with the rest of the
panel membership drawn from the private sector, including
not-for-profit organizations and two for-profit companies,
Intel Corp. and Wal-Mart. But from the beginning, it has
been Leavitt’s stated aim to privatize the organization and
Brailer and Kolodner gave a presentation to AHIC members on
the government’s plans for succession and sustainability. A
"key next step," according to Brailer, was coming up with a
business plan for the new entity.

(April 26, 2007)



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Effort To Develop ED Systems Standard Moves Forward


Health Level Seven, a standards-development organization,
has adopted the Emergency Care Function Profile as the first
"registered profile," or subset of an existing standard, to
facilitate the development of certification criteria for
emergency department information systems.

(April 26, 2007)



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Universal Health Bill Includes Incentives for Health IT
Adoption


Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. John Dingell
(D-Mich.) on Wednesday introduced legislation that would
provide incentives for adopting electronic health records
and clinical decision support systems.

(April 26, 2007)



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Aurora to install TeraMedica’s Evercore technology


Citing the need to
deliver an independent, lightweight image set to all
desktops within the context of its electronic medical
records,

Aurora Health Care
will install the Evercore clinical
information management product developed by

TeraMedica
, a privately held medical software company.
The installation, which will occur over the next several
months, will enable Aurora to integrate its medical images
and distribute them to attending healthcare providers within
the Cerner power chart module of Aurora’s electronic medical
record.


(April 26, 2007)



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News Release: HHS Joins International Partners to Promote
Electronic Health Records Standards


Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Mike Leavitt today
announced the United States will participate in an
international effort to encourage more rapid development and
worldwide adoption of standard clinical terminology for
electronic health records. The United States is one of nine
charter members of the new International Health Terminology
Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO), which has
acquired Systemized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED)
Clinical Terms (SNOMED CT) from the College of American
Pathologists (CAP). Other charter members are from
Australia, Canada, Denmark, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New
Zealand, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Membership is open
to all countries.

(April 26, 2007)



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HIMSS Foundation donates to New Orleans free clinic


The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
presented a check for $38,153 this week to the Common Ground
Health Clinic in New Orleans. The free clinic in the
struggling Algiers section of the city serves needy patients
who have little or no health insurance. “All of us at HIMSS
wanted to ensure that the work of Common Ground Health
Clinic could continue in New Orleans,” said H. Stephen
Lieber, HIMSS president/CEO. “We recognize the effort our
members made to provide the needed assistance to this clinic
will help improve the delivery of healthcare as well as the
use of technology in the local community.” … The HIMSS
Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Society, managed
all monetary and in-kind donations of software and
affiliated services. The Foundation also administers the
HIMSS Katrina Phoenix project to help rebuild healthcare
facilities destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The
Katrina Phoenix project coordinates donations of electronic
medical record software and services from healthcare IT
vendors to practices in need of assistance. HIMSS also
announced that eight other practice sites to-date in
Louisiana have benefited from the HIMSS Katrina-Phoenix
Project with three practices in various stages of EHR
installation or implementation.


(April 26, 2007)



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Bill would advance use of information technology in health
care industry


The following is a news release from Rep. Erik Paulsen
(R-42B): Representative Erik Paulsen said his bill to
encourage innovative uses for information technology to
improve health care was included in the Minnesota House
Omnibus Health and Human Services bill. “The skyrocketing
costs of health care are in need of solutions. Minnesota is
a leader in technology. We should use our expertise and
utilize leaders in this area to provide a solution that will
improve health care and reduce costs,” said Representative
Erik Paulsen. Paulsen’s legislation expands the duties of
the Health Information Technology and Infrastructure
Advisory Committee. The primary purpose of the committee is
to make recommendations for implementing a statewide
interoperable health information infrastructure.

(April 25, 2007)



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Wal-Mart CEO Calls on Businesses To Step Up Health IT
Efforts


Just who is responsible for transforming the U.S. health
care system? The private sector? The public sector? Health
care providers? According to one of the nation’s top
business leaders, transforming health care is a shared
responsibility. "The time for politics in our nation’s
debate on health care has passed," Lee Scott, CEO of
Wal-Mart, said on Tuesday at the World Health Care Congress
in Washington, D.C. According to Scott, it’s time to take
action, and businesses should be a "catalyst for positive
change." Scott said that businesses can further the effort
to transform health care through three steps: 1) Empowering
consumers; 2) Applying technologies; and 3) Increasing
efficiencies.

(April 25, 2007)



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Majority of British Physicians Oppose IT Project, Survey
Finds


Sixty-six percent of
British general practitioners said they will not allow their
own health records to be shared through the National Health
Service’s Summary Care Record program, according to a survey
of general practitioners by Pulse magazine
.

(April 25, 2007)



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Children’s Hospitals in New Jersey, Tennessee Connect
Electronically


St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Paterson, N.J., has
connected with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in
Memphis, Tenn., to consult with physicians through
high-definition video conferencing on complex pediatric
cases.

(April 25, 2007)



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California Pilot Program Uses Software for Clinic Referrals


The University of California-San Diego Medical Center and
three clinics this month began using a new computer program
aimed at helping emergency department patients without
primary care providers seek follow-up care at a clinic.

(April 25, 2007)



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Public Health Data Network Expected To Triple by 2012


The number of states with the ability to share information
on pandemics and other national health threats will triple
to about 40 states by 2012, according to a forecast released
Tuesday by Government Futures, a government market research
firm.

(April 25, 2007)



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Federal Advisory Group To Recommend Rewarding Physicians for
EHR Use


The American Health Information Community on Tuesday
accepted in principle a pay-for-performance recommendation
from its Electronic Health Records Workgroup that called for
federal contracts with health plans and insurers to include
provisions to reward physicians for quality performance,
including the use of certified electronic health records.

(April 25, 2007)



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Information technology could cure U.S. healthcare ills


Information technology may be the best way to reform the
ailing U.S. healthcare system, said a number of leading
employers at a session of the Fourth Annual World Health
Care Congress held April 23-24 in Washington, D.C. Glen
Tullman, CEO of Allscripts, repeated a common mantra that
the U.S. healthcare system is “broken,” and many employers
“are getting their hands dirty and jumping into the fray.


They see healthcare IT as part of the solution.” “We’ve
tried everything else,” Tullman said. “Every other major
industry has been able to use IT to improve quality and
reduce costs.”

(April 25, 2007)



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CIGNA to offer members Intuit’s Quicken Health


Intuit Inc. of Mountain View and CIGNA HealthCare said on
Tuesday they have teamed up offer an online health tool for
the insurance company’s more than 9 million members. The
program, called Quicken Health, is scheduled to be available
at no additional charge in 2008. It will allow members to
manage and direct their health care finances, view and
organize medical expenses, payments and service histories,
and download and organize personal health claims data.

(April 25, 2007)



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Emergis to Provide Electronic Health Record Solution to
Hawkesbury General Hospital of Ontario


Emergis Inc. (TSX:

EME
) today announced that Hawkesbury General Hospital, a
69-bed community hospital in the Champlain Local Health
Integration Network (LHIN) of Ontario, has purchased the
Company’s Oacis electronic health record (EHR) solution. An
EHR solution allows health care professionals to rapidly and
securely access a complete record of a patient’s health
history online and in real time. Hawkesbury General is the
second hospital to purchase the Oacis solution in the
Champlain LHIN after The Ottawa Hospital and the fourth in
Ontario.


(April 25, 2007)



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Medicare NPI Contingency May Be Brief


Medicare could begin as early as July 1 to reject
fee-for-service claims that do not contain a national
provider identifier for the primary (or rendering) provider,
according to a notice recently posted online by the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The notice outlines
Medicare’s fee-for-service contingency plan for the NPI and
follows guidance on April 2 that CMS will not bring
enforcement action against entities following the May 23,
2007, compliance date if the entities are acting in good
faith to become compliant. But the new notice makes clear
that while enforcement may not be aggressive, Medicare’s own
contingency plan may be. In May, Medicare will assess the
number of fee-for-service claims containing an NPI. “If the
analysis shows a sufficient number of submitted claims
contain an NPI, Medicare will begin to reject claims on July
1, 2007, that do not contain NPIs,” according to the notice.
“If a sufficient number of claims do not contain NPIs in the
May analysis, Medicare FFS will assess compliance in June
2007 and determine whether to begin rejecting claims in
August 2007. Medicare FFS will provide advanced notification
to providers, Medicare contractors and the shared systems of
the date they are to begin rejecting claims when a decision
has been made to do so.” The notice does not specify what a
“sufficient number” of compliant claims would be, which
concerns the Medical Group Management Association.

(April 24, 2007)



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New Electronic Medical Records Device Can Save Lives in an
Emergency


A recently released
computer application called Med Records to Go™, that stores

electronic medical records
, can help reduce errors in
emergency conditions, as well as in hospital or medical
clinic admissions. Introduced by the Vital Record
Corporation in November, 2006, Med Records to Go™ uses flash
drive technology to record and store

health information
for emergency viewing by medical
personnel. In addition, the portable application can
transfer electronic medical records from the small storage
unit to a standard cell phone for emergency reference.


(April 24, 2007)



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Fed health plans likely to reward docs for using EHRs


A high-level Health and Human Services Department advisory
group will recommend that federal contracts with health
plans and insurers include provisions to reward physicians
for good performance, including the use of certified
e-health records. The American Health Information Community
today endorsed in principle the recommendation on pay for
performance from its Electronic Health Records Workgroup. It
sent the recommendation back to the workgroup for refinement
of the wording. AHIC is expected to approve the
recommendation at its June 12 meeting.

(April 24, 2007)



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Transformative IT: What It Means for Employers, Providers,
Government


As employers, the federal government and providers grapple
with how they should approach health IT adoption, it has
become clear that the technology has different implications
for everyone. However, the overall goal remains the same —
improving care through more efficient processes and reducing
costs.

(April 24, 2007)



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Western North Carolina Hospitals Get Electronic Link


Western North Carolina’s 16 hospitals, which operate a
variety of disparate electronic health record systems, have
been integrated into a single system so that physicians
throughout the area can access patient information.

(April 24, 2007)



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Federal Exemptions Have Not Encouraged IT Donations, Survey
Finds


A survey of CIOs found that 62% of respondents said that
federal exemptions from the Stark and anti-kickback laws —
which are meant to provide a safe harbor for IT donations
from not-for-profit hospitals — have not prompted their
facilities to fund or extend their health IT systems to
physicians

(April 24, 2007)



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Insurer Offers Free EHRs to Physicians in Four States


BlueCross and BlueShield plans in four states are entering
the health records of more than 11 million patients into a
single electronic health record system that physicians can
access at no cost.

(April 24, 2007)



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Denmark, U.S. Military Set Sights on Worldwide EHRs


Health IT efforts by both Denmark and the U.S. aim to
increase the quality of care while reducing health care
costs, Arne Kverneland, head of Denmark’s National Board of
Health’s health informatics department, said on Monday at
the World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C.


(April 24, 2007)



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Internal Kaiser E-Mail Spurred CEO To Defend EHR Project


A November 2006 e-mail from a Kaiser Permanente employee
describing problems with the company’s electronic health
record system and the reaction to it shows that "in the
digital age, flicking away whistleblowers isn’t as easy as
it once was.

(April 24, 2007)



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400 Health Clinics to Open in Wal-Mart Stores During Next
Three Years


Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,
(NYSE:

WMT
) intends to contract with local hospitals and other
organizations to open as many as 400 in-store health clinics
over the next two to three years, and if current market
forces continue, up to 2,000 clinics could be in Wal-Mart
stores over the next five to seven years, Wal-Mart president
and CEO Lee Scott will say in a speech later today at the
World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C. The clinic
program’s expansion is just the latest in a series of moves
by Wal-Mart to help implement customer solutions to
America’s health care crisis, including the $4 generic drug
prescription program, health information technology and
participation in a major coalition supporting comprehensive
healthcare reform by 2012.


(April 24, 2007)



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Wal-Mart, Walgreens to Participate in Rx History Initiative


The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced on
Tuesday that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Walgreens are among
the nation’s pharmacies that will participate in a new
initiative allowing faster, safer access to prescription
medicines during emergencies and natural disasters. The
initiative, "Rx History," is made possible through the
Pharmacy Health Information Exchange, operated by
SureScripts, an organization founded by NACDS and the
National Community Pharmacists Association… Rx History
uses technology that will allow licensed prescribers and
pharmacists across the country to securely access
information containing the prescription history of a patient
from the affected area.

(April 24, 2007)



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Lahey Clinic to Provide Physicians with Integrated View of
Patient Data Through Orion Health Concerto Medical
Applications Portal


Orion Health, a global provider of clinical workflow and
integration technology for the health care sector, today
announced that Lahey Clinic Medical Center in Burlington,
Massachusetts has selected Orion Health’s Concerto™ Medical
Applications Portal to provide a unique approach to ensure
clinic staff have quick and easy access to patient data from
a variety of applications for clinical decision-making. By
choosing Orion Health’s Concerto Medical Applications
Portal, Lahey colleagues will be provided with a solution
that moves beyond simple Single Sign-On (SSO) password
management capabilities to present a completely unified view
of patient data that resides on disparate applications
throughout the clinic’s facilities.

(April 24, 2007)



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Privacy, trust still the biggest barriers to electronic
record sharing


Is America rushing into the adoption of electronic medical
records and patient data exchange without enough concern for
data security? The question has been raised on many fronts,
including the Congress, where some bills seek to provide
incentives to encourage the adoption of interactive personal
health records, and others that raise privacy concerns are
construed as a barrier to the adoption of EMRs. Moreover,
headline-grabbing data breaches in both the public and
private sector are still fresh in the public’s mind.

(April 23, 2007)



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First community-based public health record in the country is
being test driven in Tehachapi


When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 most of the
one million people displaced by the storm were left without
a single medical record. Now, nearly 70 percent of doctors
in the country still do not have electronic medical records
for patients making it nearly impossible for doctors to work
if a disaster strikes. Tehachapi residents are being given
the opportunity to avoid that fate. The Personal Health
Record, known as MyHealthKeeper, is being test driven by a
group of about 40 senior citizens, all members of the
Tehachapi Diabetes Support Group. MyHealthKeeper is
currently tailor-made to fit the needs of diabetes patients,
but it is a program created to be used as a chronic disease
management tool as well as an electronic medical record.

(April 23, 2007)



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Iowa City Health Systems Taking on EHRs


All three major medical centers in Iowa City, Iowa, have
adopted electronic health record systems to varying degrees
and many are more advanced than those at the average U.S.
hospital.

(April 23, 2007)



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Pilot Furthers CMS Health IT Adoption Effort


CMS last week launched an online application to help
physician practices put into place health IT applications
after piloting the program in California and three other
states.

(April 23, 2007)



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VA Gains EHR Access, Adds Patient Tracking System


The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday will allow
every clinician at all its hospitals and clinics to access
in real-time electronic health records of wounded soldiers
evacuated from Afghanistan and Iraq through a VA version of
the Department of Defense’s Joint Patient Tracking
Application.

(April 23, 2007)



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Kolodner’s ‘career appointment’: interview


Physician informaticist Robert Kolodner took time out
Thursday for a telephone interview to talk about his
appointment by HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt as the permanent
head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health
Information Technology at HHS and his bidding adieu to a
career serving the nation’s veterans. Kolodner has been
interim national coordinator since Sept. 20, 2006, following
the resignation last spring of David Brailer, the first to
hold the top job at ONCHIT. It will mean saying goodbye
"with fond memories," he said, to a distinguished career at
the Veterans Affairs Department, which was called the
Veterans Administration when Kolodner started working there
more than 28 years ago. Kolodner was chief health
informatics officer for the Veterans Health Administration,
the healthcare arm of the VA that operates nearly 1,300 care
sites.

(April 20, 2007)



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Electronic health services without borders


EU Member States and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway have
adopted a common declaration on their commitment to pursue
structured cooperation on cross-border electronic health
services across Europe. ‘By adopting today’s Declaration, we
seek to ensure that, in the future, electronic health
services for Europe’s citizens do not stop at national
borders,’ said the German State Secretary at the Federal
Ministry of Health, Dr Klaus Theo Schröder. ‘We want to give
patients access to their medical records and patient
summaries from everywhere within the EU. This not only
serves the continuity of care but also affords safety in an
emergency,’ he explained. The declaration was adopted at the
2007 eHealth Conference whose theme ‘From strategies to
applications’ looked at the implementation of electronic
health-service applications and infrastructures such as
electronic prescriptions and electronic patient files, as
well as future services available thanks to the electronic
health card.

(April 20, 2007)



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House bill targets cost of healthcare IT


Reps. Charles Gonzalez (D-Texas) and Phil Gingrey (R-Ga. )
Thursday introduced a bipartisan bill designed to help
physicians afford the high cost of adopting healthcare
information technology. The bill, called the National Health
Information Incentive Act, offers grants, loans and tax
incentives to offset the cost of physicians implementing
healthcare IT. Gingrey, a physician, said that many
physician practices are small businesses with concerns for
their bottom line. “By providing financial incentives for
doctors to adopt health IT, this bill will get life-saving
technology into physician offices and into the lives of
American patients,” Gingrey said. According to Gonzalez,
chairman of the Small Business Committee’s Subcommittee on
Regulation, Healthcare, and Trade, widespread healthcare IT
adoption will revolutionize the standard and quality of
healthcare received in America.

(April 20, 2007)



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IT Could Reap Big Savings in Australia, Report Finds


If Australian physicians shared chronically ill patients’
information via the Internet, the country could save up to
$1.5 billion Australian, or $1.25 billion, annually,
according to a report by the Australian Center for Health
Research released on Thursday.

(April 20, 2007)



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Alabama Bill To Jumpstart Trauma Communications


Four Alabama state senators are co-sponsoring a bill that
would create a 24-hour trauma dispatch center to help
coordinate the flow of patients to hospitals statewide.

(April 20, 2007)



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Study Finds Broad Variation in Readiness To Improve Care
Quality


"Vast differences" exist in regional markets’ preparedness
to improve health care quality for people with chronic
illnesses, according to a survey of 14 communities
nationwide conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
and the Center for Health Improvement.

(April 20, 2007)



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Survey: More Hospitals Complete EHR Adoption


Thirty-two percent of hospital leaders say their facilities
have a fully operational electronic health record system,
compared with 24% in 2006.

(April 20, 2007)



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HHS report: Electronic prescribing standards need more work


A series of tests designed to gauge the readiness of
standards being developed for electronically prescribing
drugs under Medicare have produced mixed results, according
to a report on the tests issued yesterday. Three of six
tests of new standards were able to convey prescription
information in the proper format for use in a Medicare Part
D prescription drug benefit, according to the report, which
was delivered to Congress by Health and Human Services
Department Secretary Mike Leavitt. Three other standards
need more work before they can be finalized, the report
concluded.

(April 19, 2007)



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LifeonKey health database provides the key to crucial
information


You’ve been planning your Great Barrier Reef scuba diving
getaway for months. It’s day one and you’re eager to get
below the surface and view the infamous coral reefs you’ve
heard so much about. But shortly after leaping from the dive
deck, you discover difficulty in clearing facial pressure –
two musts for eardrum and blood vessel preservation. What’s
going on? Granted it’s been a few years since you’ve donned
wetsuit and gear but this was never an issue in the past.
Thanks to a new Israeli innovation available in the near
future, you won’t have to wait until you’re back home to
troubleshoot. LifeonKey, an ‘access anywhere’ patient and
medical professional retrieval system, allows the Australian
doctors on your case to instantly see information regarding
that bout of pneumonia and sinusitis suffered last year,
which is now affecting your holiday dive expedition plans.
"The LifeonKey technology benefits everyone involved," CEO
Dr. Linda Harnevo of Global Medical Networks, developers of
the technology, told ISRAEL21c. A virtual database of
patient information, the idea is based upon quick and easy
access of patient records using sign-up information and
access codes.

(April 19, 2007)



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Steve Case launches his health revolution


It has … well, a revolutionary name for a Web site, a
founder with a history and deep pockets and recognizable
partners – Colin Powell and Carly Fiorina. And, today, amid
much hoopla, Steve Case launched Revolution Health’s Web
site. Out came announcements from a flock of well known
partners in healthcare and elsewhere. The American
Association of Family Physicians is on board. The
organization has 94,000 members. IVillage, which has its own
healthcare Web offering especially for women, announced its
partnership with Revolution Health. Columbia University
Medical Center is part of the revolution, too, along with
several others. “Revolution Health is recognizing the
importance of a medical home where a physician practice
serves as the focal point through which all patients receive
acute, chronic, preventive and end-of-life medical care that
is accessible, efficient and of the highest quality,” said
Rick Kellerman, MD, president of the AAFP.

(April 19, 2007)



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Guest Opinion: Investments in health IT save lives, money


Health insurance and Medicare are buckling under the weight
of rising health care costs. Their future depends on
controlling these costs. There is no better single step we
can take toward this end than the widespread adoption of
electronic health information technology (HIT). It will
revolutionize medicine by slashing costs while saving lives.

(April 19, 2007)



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Oregon Telemedicine Project To Connect Pediatricians


Sacred Heart Medical Center in Eugene, Ore., on Tuesday
announced a pilot project to create a telemedicine link
between its pediatric department and specialists at
Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Ore., to reduce
the number of children transferred to Doernbecher.

(April 19, 2007)



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Gov. Schwarzenegger Touts Benefits of Telemedicine


California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Wednesday at
the Telehealth and Visiting Specialist Center in Eureka,
Calif., promoted telemedicine’s ability to increase access
to quality medical care.

(April 19, 2007)



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A Virtual Doctors’ Lounge


The vast majority of patient care today takes place on an
outpatient basis in small physician offices. Physicians in
the last 10 to 15 years have become more isolated as they
spend less time in hospitals. Conversing with fellow
physicians in the cafeteria or doctors’ lounge is becoming a
thing of the past. Sermo, an online physician community, is
tapping into a "desire in the medical community to have a
sense of the old community that [physicians] once had,"
Daniel Palestrant, CEO and founder of Sermo, said.

(April 19, 2007)



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HHS releases report on e-Rx standards


Three electronic prescribing standards tested in an
e-prescribing pilot project sponsored by the Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid Services are capable of supporting
transactions in Medicare Part D, according to a report
released to Congress Tuesday. U.S. Health and Human Services
Secretary Michael Leavitt announced the results of the
report, which was conducted through an interagency agreement
between CMS and the Agency for Healthcare Research and
Quality. “The findings in this report, along with previously
adopted foundation standards, demonstrate that HHS is
effectively advancing electronic prescribing which will
continue to help Medicare beneficiaries receive higher
quality care,” Secretary Leavitt said. The initial
e-prescribing standards that are described in the report as
“technically able to convey the information needed to
support this function for use in Part D” deal with formulary
and benefit information, exchange of medication history, and
fill status notification.

(April 18, 2007)



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LSU Healthcare Network Delivers Online Physician-Patient
Communication and Personal Health Records to Louisianans


LSU Healthcare Network (LHN) is launching iHealth, the
leading online physician-patient communication service that
includes a transportable and secure online personal health
record for all area residents. iHealth, the first of its
kind service launched in the New Orleans area, will directly
engage patients with online access to their LHN physician’s
office and a secure, online health record that empowers
patients and protects them in emergencies.

(April 18, 2007)



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Medical records going digital


Paper patient charts will soon be on the way out at
Hutchinson Community Hospital. The Hutchinson Area Health
Care Governing Board on Tuesday approved a list of purchases
for the city-owned hospital’s new electronic medical records
system.

(April 18, 2007)



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Interim healthcare IT chief made permanent


Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael
Leavitt announced Wednesday that Robert Kolodner will serve
in a permanent capacity as the head of the Office of the
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
(ONC). And, with the appointment comes a change in the way
the position is structured – ensuring continuity beyond the
current administration. Kolodner has been serving as the
Interim National Coordinator for Health IT since Sept. 20.
During an exclusive interview today with Healthcare IT News,
Kolodner said the delay in appointing him had mostly to do
with “hammering down the details” of making the position
into a permanent career position. “The key message here is
I’m in a career position,” Kolodner said. “This isn’t a
political appointment. And this is a statement [on the part
of HHS] that this is something that needs to transcend the
administration and go forward into the next administration
as long as such leadership adds value in achieving secure,
interoperable health IT.” Kolodner said he does not
anticipate making any changes in ONC’s already aggressive
agenda to accomplish the advancement of healthcare, and his
permanent capacity will not change how he operates in the
position. “The [HHS] Secretary has made clear all along that
I have had authority,” Kolodner said.

(April 18, 2007)



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Mobile Phones To Help Patients Monitor Health


Researchers at Leeds University in England are developing a
mobile phone that can check patients’ vital signs and
glucose and blood oxygen levels.

(April 18, 2007)



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Confidentiality and privacy of personal health information
is critical to acceptance of NHIN


"ACP strongly believes in the goal of widespread adoption
and use of health information technology to improve quality
of care," Michael H. Zaroukian, MD, PhD, FACP, told the
National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics
subcommittee on Privacy and Confidentiality today at their
hearing on "Consumer Controls for Sensitive Health Records."
Dr. Zaroukian is a member of ACP’s Medical Informatics
Subcommittee and Medical Director of the Michigan State
University (MSU) Internal Medicine Clinic and the
University’s Chief Medical Information Officer. He spoke
with the subcommittee by phone. "Control of content and
access by individuals to clinical information are critical
issues that will greatly influence acceptance and use of the
National Health Information Network (NHIN)," Dr. Zaroukian
continued. "The impact of policies adopted and implemented
to address these complex concerns could be substantial with
respect to the accuracy, reliability and usability of
information exchanged electronically."

(April 17, 2007)



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Health Data Exchanges Seek Sustainability


The Indiana Health Information Exchange has thrived
monetarily and continues to grow, while the developing
California Regional Health Information Organization looks to
create an exchange that will be financially stable in the
long term.

(April 17, 2007)



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British Columbia Sets Sight on EHRs


British Columbia on Tuesday will announce a
multimillion-dollar contract with Sun Microsystems and other
partners to create a province-wide electronic health record
system aimed at improving patient care and reducing medical
errors.

(April 17, 2007)



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Human vs. Technology


Earlier this year, we learned that one of the most
anticipated technologies ever to be offered to consumers
would soon be available. It would revolutionize our lives,
improve our connectivity with others, and manage complex
information elegantly and error free. No, we’re not talking
about the personal health record. We’re, of course, talking
about the Apple iPhone.

(April 17, 2007)



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CCHIT to expand workgroups, ease pressure on volunteers


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology (CCHIT) – an independent, nonprofit organization
that has been recognized by the federal government as an
official certification body for electronic health record
products – announced Tuesday that it plans to increase its
staff and restructure volunteer workgroups in order to
handle an expanded 2008 agenda. According to Mark Leavitt,
MD, CCHIT chairman, volunteer resources responsible for
CCHIT’s success are finding their time spread thinner than
ever. “I believe we must use those resources even more
efficiently this year, making fewer demands on their time
while gaining the maximum benefit from their expertise,"
Leavitt said. Under the new structure, CCHIT will expand
from three workgroups to five, adding a workgroup to handle
emergency department systems and another to develop
certification criteria for health information networks. The
current workgroups for electronic health record
requirements, office-based and hospital-based settings will
remain the same, according a statement released today on
behalf of CCHIT.

(April 17, 2007)



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U.K. National Health IT Program Continues To Struggle,
Report Finds


A group of United Kingdom members of Parliament in a new
report said that the National Health Service’s health IT
project is two years behind schedule and needs immediate
action to protect its long-term interests.

(April 17, 2007)



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AHA Leader Cites Need for I.T.


Providing improved access to information must be a core
component of efforts to reform the U.S. health care system,
according to the new president and CEO of the American
Hospital Association. “We have to make information available
at the right place and at the right time,” said Richard
Umbdenstock in his presentation at the American Organization
of Nurse Executives’ Annual Meeting, April 13 in Washington.
“We have to work on standards, on connectivity and on the
interoperability of information systems.”

(April 16, 2007)



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Editor’s letter: Health care tipping points


The Internet giveth, and the Internet taketh away —
especially, it seems, in the health care community. Although
it has expanded access to health information for millions of
people, the Internet circulates dross and admits pranksters,
or worse. This has dramatically raised the demand for
precision — in health records, patient identification,
technology certification and treatment. That’s all well and
good because it is forcing us to seek more sophisticated
solutions to problems related to information growth,
openness, and abundance. But lately, the Internet scales
seem to be tipping us into foreign territory and challenging
the notion of what’s possible, what’s scientific and, in
some cases, what’s safe.

(April 16, 2007)



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Banking on privacy


As the federal government continues to push for wider
adoption of electronic medical records, many organizations
are asking how they can efficiently distribute and safeguard
all of that electronic medical information once it’s
captured. One strategy is to create banks of records from
which authorized doctors and nurses can quickly pull
patients’ lab tests and medical histories. Proponents
contend that care will improve and medication mistakes will
decline when specialists and emergency room physicians have
immediate access to the same information that a patient’s
primary care physician has.

(April 16, 2007)



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Opelka: E-prescribing is safe and private


Medical errors, the bane of physicians and the cause of some
100,000 preventable deaths each year in the United States,
may soon be a thing of the past. New technologies already in
use in thousands of clinics and hospitals alert providers to
therapies that may harm the patient, such as overly high
medication dosages and drug interactions. As a practicing
surgeon who teaches medicine, I share the sense of urgency
of all in my profession who are dedicated to preventing
medical errors and ensuring patient safety. So when I was
asked recently to co-chair a major national initiative
offering free electronic prescribing software — a technology
that the Institute of Medicine recommends for every
physician — I gladly accepted.

(April 16, 2007)



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Feldman: Twin win: Privacy and e-health


The U.S. health care community is breaking new ground in
e-health every day. Yet this transformative system will
reach a critical mass of acceptance by health care
consumers, providers and facility-operators only when the
public feels assured that privacy is priority No. 1.

(April 16, 2007)



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Finding Foreman


George Foreman — boxer, clergyman and entrepreneur —
named his five sons after himself. So when the Nationwide
Health Information Network (NHIN) is up and running, how
will a doctor find the records for the right George Foreman?
Accurately matching patients with their electronic records
is at the heart of the proposed network. But what if doctors
search NHIN and find no records for anyone named George
Foreman? If few matches are found, users will soon pronounce
the network a waste of time and money, and they’ll abandon
it.

(April 16, 2007)



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A RHIO that works and pays


The big challenge facing regional health information
organizations is financial sustainability, but the Indiana
Health Information Exchange (IHIE) is not only surviving
monetarily, it’s thriving. This RHIO is doing so well, in
fact, that it recently graduated from a business incubator
run by Indiana University and moved into a large commercial
space that will allow it to grow from 18 to 46 employees by
the end of the year. “We’re extremely pleased with how
things are going,” said Dr. Marc Overhage, president and
chief executive officer of IHIE. “Not only are we covering
all of our expenses, but we are generating enough to invest
in growth.”

(April 16, 2007)



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Perspective: A business model for RHIOs


A lot of splashy new
client announcements were made at the HIMSS 2007 Annual
Conference & Exhibition in February. One of the more
interesting ones involves a

collaboration
between two competitive laboratories in
Nebraska. They deployed a Web-based system to integrate
their two businesses. But this system also has the potential
to provide the needed business case for providers to
participate in a regional health information organization
(RHIO).


(April 16, 2007)



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Health care 2.0


New Web tools promise to tear down barriers to health care
information sharing, but will they pass the test for privacy
and accuracy?

(April 16, 2007)



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Not all agree with privacy week’s focus


Who can argue with a week devoted to "raising awareness
among healthcare professionals, their employers and the
public of the importance of protecting the privacy,
confidentiality and security of personal health
information?" Deborah Peel, an Austin, Texas, psychiatrist
and founder of the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation, that’s
who. Peel is arguing about the focus on personal health
records and other nuances of the privacy debate that the
American Health Information Management Association put forth
as part of its fourth annual Health Information Privacy and
Security Week, which was held last week. In particular, Peel
was upset with a statement in AHIMA privacy and security
week education materials that declared: "Consumers should
establish a personal health record." Specifically, she
questioned the privacy of records created by insurance
companies and employers, and worried that the information
stored in these PHRs could be used against patients.

(April 16, 2007)



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New York City brings EMRs to primary care providers


The New York City
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced Monday
that it will provide electronic medical records and practice
management software to 1,300 providers caring for
underserved and vulnerable populations in the City. The
Department has signed a $19.8 million deal with healthcare
IT vendor eClinicalWorks of Westborough, Mass. to provide
the software. The deal is part of New York City’s Primary
Care Information Project (PCIP), an initiative to improve
the quality of healthcare throughout the City. New York City
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has often expressed his belief in
the importance of electronic records in reforming primary
care. “Getting preventive health value from EHRs is by no
means automatic,” Bloomberg said at the Academy Health
National Health Policy Conference in February. “But if we
program and implement them with disease prevention as our
goal, they can be crucial to rebuilding primary care in our
nation.”


(April 16, 2007)



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Ushering in a New Era of Community Health Care


Lake Hospital System today broke ground on a new digital
hospital that will be built in Concord Township. The $150
million state-of-the-art health care facility, named
TriPoint Medical Center, is scheduled to open in the fall of
2009 and will introduce a new approach to community health
care that revolves entirely around the patient… TriPoint
Medical Center will be equipped with computerized systems to
speed the flow of decision-making information to medical
professionals and improve the quality of care. Electronic
medical records and filmless, computerized radiology systems
will provide up-to-the- minute information and fully
integrate with electronic information at other Lake Hospital
System facilities. "Having immediate access to a patient’s
complete health records, including lists of a patient’s
prescriptions and allergies, can help prevent medical
errors, improve patient safety, and avoid duplicate tests
and other procedures," said John Ferron, MD, president of
the Lake Hospital System Medical Staff and a general
surgeon. "It’s all about delivering the highest quality care
to our patients."

(April 16, 2007)



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Johns Hopkins to focus on quality with new technology


The Johns Hopkins Health System will implement Microsoft’s
Azyxxi platform and applications to better measure
performance and improve patient care. Johns Hopkins is the
second health organization to announce deployment of the
newly commercial Azyxxi technology. NewYork Presbyterian,
one of the nation’s largest hospitals, became the first to
choose Azyxxi. The hospital announced the project in March.
CIO Aurelia Boyer said then NewYork Presbyterian was ready
to “push the envelope.” As early adopters, both hospitals
will help Microsoft further develop Azyxxi’s features and
functionality. Microsoft is working with the two hospitals
to tailor the technology to their needs.

(April 16, 2007)



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Wireless technology for doctors demonstrated in La Jolla


Yulun Wang leaned over his laptop computer, grabbed the
joystick and directed his robot forward. Nearly 200 miles to
the north, the robot moved away from its charging station
and rolled to a bed occupied by a mannequin "patient." A
camera mounted on the robot focused on the patient’s eyes,
telescoping into high magnification to examine the pupils
for signs of brain injury. "If I was a physician, and I had
a call from my emergency department … I could be sitting
here and I could see my patient, and interact with him,"
said Wang, chairman of Santa Barbara-based InTouch Health.
Wireless technology from Qualcomm Inc. made the new device
possible.

(April 15, 2007)



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Cook County to tighten up medical referrals


Thousands of poor patients across Chicago may have a harder
time getting specialized medical services at Cook County
under a new policy that starts Monday. Before, private
community clinics could refer needy patients with conditions
such as cancer or diabetes to Stroger Hospital’s specialty
clinics via a sophisticated computer system. Apparently,
that system is shutting down.

(April 15, 2007)



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Medical records moving online


In less than a year, patients served by four of the state’s
largest health networks may see their medical records
available online.
Officials at MaineInfoNet, a nonprofit corporation, are
creating an electronic system they say will save money,
avoid duplicate tests and procedures, save lives and improve
care. "It’s typical to have two or more providers and
they’re all prescribing and none of them know what the
others are prescribing," said HealthInfoNet Executive
Director Devore Culver.

(April 15, 2007)



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New technology boosts health care


Lost within the shuffle of the daily news, Zelnorm was
recalled by the Food and Drug Administration Friday, March
30… “In 10 minutes I knew all 527 patients who are on
Zelnorm or who had been on it … ,” said Dr. Joseph Castelli,
a gynocologist at the Murfreesboro Medical Clinic (MMC).
“That afternoon a letter was put together and reviewed.
Monday morning we sent it out to all our patients to notify
them of the recall and to call their doctors. In November
2004, MMC made the switch to Electronic Health Records
(EHR).

(April 15, 2007)



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RHIO Finance Survey To Close April 20


The 2007 national Survey
of Regional Health Information Organization (RHIO) Finance,
distributed to health information exchanges across the
nation, will close on April 20. The survey focuses on how
RHIOs and HIEs fund startup, and how they finance operations
through the life of the organization. Persons involved in
RHIOs may take the survey at

rhiosurvey.hittransition.com/instrument.htm.


(April 15, 2007)



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Hospitals Buying Big Ticket Tech For Big Health


The promise of better health care through innovative medical
technology can be a expensive promise to keep. Hospitals and
clinics in the Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas areas have
invested heavily in new technology and new construction in
the past year.

(April 14, 2007)



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Gingrich sees computers improving health care


If former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is right, this is
what will happen in the not-so-distant-future of health
care: Your doctor will implant in you a wireless pacemaker
that continuously monitors your heart waves. The data will
be uploaded into a supercomputer that compares your heart
rhythm with millions of others. Based on that, the computer
will be able to diagnose a heart attack hours before it
happens.

(April 14, 2007)



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EHR Network on Docket for Florida Lawmakers


Florida legislators are considering several bills that would
create a statewide health care information network and
provide physicians with access to an online database of
electronic health records.

(April 13, 2007)



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Washington State Legislation Promoting EHR Adoption Moves
Forward


The Washington state House on Thursday passed a broad health
care measure that would allow online access to a health
science library and encourage the adoption of electronic
health records.

(April 13, 2007)



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D.C. starts digitizing patient records with $5M grant


D.C. health care leaders are switching on a $5 million,
six-clinic electronic network that they expect will
eventually stretch across all the city’s hospitals, medical
practices, clinics and pharmacies. With help from a city
grant, the D.C. Primary Care Association (DCPCA) will be
signing up a software company before month’s end to link the
electronic medical records of six community health care
clinics for the underinsured.

(April 13, 2007)



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Andy Grove: Your medical history on a chip


The health care industry
had no direct relation
to Andy Grove’s long
career at Intel; it
caught his interest when
he himself was a
patient.




Grove, co-founder,
former CEO and president
of Intel
,
as well as best-selling
author and winner of
numerous awards, talked
about the relationship
between technology and
health care at the
University of California
at Berkeley’s School of
Public Health this week.
Although he’s not very
optimistic, and fears a
major war, depression or
pandemic would have to
strike the nation for
U.S. health care to
change its ways, he
considers information
technology a vital
solution for lowering
costs of medical care
(he cited estimates of
$130 billion in annual
health care spending
increases).




(April 13, 2007)



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Workgroup may propose extending HIPAA to health info
exchanges


A workgroup of the American Health Information Community is
likely to recommend in May that the privacy and security
rules associated with the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act of 1996 be extended to apply to almost
all users of health information exchanges.

(April 13, 2007)



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UnitedHealthcare Launches Online Real-Time Claims System


UnitedHealthcare has begun using a service that allows
physicians to file insurance claims in real-time through a
new Web site… Physicians enter patients’ eligibility data
and codes for the care they received, and UnitedHealthcare
will confirm the costs in less than 10 seconds. Patients
know their claims information before leaving a physician
office, and the system reduces paperwork and expedites the
process.

(April 12, 2007)



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Florida Group Initiates E-Prescribing Effort


Several Florida health plans and provider companies are
collaborating to oversee the widespread adoption of
electronic prescriptions to improve patient safety and
health.

(April 12, 2007)



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Survey: Recent Development Signals That More RHIOs Will
Struggle


More than three-quarters of survey respondents said that the
recent cease of operations by the Santa Barbara County Care
Data Exchange — the longest running regional health
information organization in the country — indicates that
other RHIOs will struggle in upcoming months.

(April 12, 2007)



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Feds Launch Online I.T. Education




The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has
introduced Web-based educational sessions for physicians
about health information technology. The agency calls the
free service DOQ-IT University, short for Doctor’s Office
Quality Information Technology University. Initial sessions
address physician office workflow redesign, culture change,
care management implementation and adding patient
self-management to clinical care. The online university was
developed and is being managed by quality improvement
organizations under contract to CMS. Associations
contributing content and expertise include the American
College of Physicians, American Academy of Family
Physicians, American Board of Internal Medicine, American
Health Information Management Association, and Healthcare
Information and Management Systems Society. Planned
enhancements include offering continuing medical education
credits. The online university’s Web site is

elearning.qualitynet.org
.


(April 12, 2007)



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Group Health co-op sending custom medical messages at
birthday time


This is one birthday greeting that’s definitely not from
Hallmark: medical advice customized for your personal
health. In a novel effort to prod patients into better
health, Group Health Cooperative on Monday will begin
sending most of its 527,000 members in Washington annual
"outreach" letters around their big days, urging them to
watch their blood pressure, curb their cholesterol, even get
stool tests and mammograms. The letters will be based on
information automatically culled from their electronic
medical records.

(April 12, 2007)



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Most state Medicaid programs use P4P


According to a report released today by the Commonwealth
Fund and IPRO, the majority of state Medicaid programs use
some form of pay-for-performance model or are considering
implementing one. IPRO and the Commonwealth Fund, both
non-profit research organizations, found that more than half
of all state Medicaid programs offer financial incentives to
healthcare providers who deliver better quality of care, and
nearly 85 percent of states plan to create
pay-for-performance (P4P) programs within five years.

(April 12, 2007)



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Press Release: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Launches DOQ-IT University


New interactive learning tool educates physicians in the
adoption and implementation of Electronic Health Records and
Care Management Practices.

(April 11, 2007)



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Industry, Government Partner on Health IT Initiatives in
California


In an iHealthBeat
Special Report, Cathie Markow, manager of the California
Cooperative Healthcare Reporting Initiative, discussed her
group’s recent contract with the federal government to track
physician performance.


(April 11, 2007)



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Physician Web Site Hits Milestone


More than 10,000 physicians have registered to use the
online communities of Sermo Inc. six months after the
Cambridge, Mass.-based company launched its services. The
physicians come from more than 30 specialties and use the
site to communicate with peers, share observations about the
effectiveness of treatments, and get advice on troublesome
cases or how certain regulations could affect their
practices.

(April 11, 2007)



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Accenture Partner Garret Wu: Health Info Prototype Is One
Small Step


"Accenture’s prototype introduces both common language and
data standards, and integrates information across the entire
healthcare system. It enables a single view of a patient’s
medical information. This helps provide better patient care,
more consistent care and supports the secondary use of
data," said Garret Wu, a partner at Accenture Health & Life
Sciences.

(April 11, 2007)



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NYU completes "big bang" CPOE


Given the suspicion with which the industry has regarded
computerized provider order entry implementations in recent
years, you might expect hospitals to take a slow and steady
approach when bringing up a new system. Not if you work at
NYU Medical Center. “Fast and steady” might be the best way
to describe its intense, 48-hour go-live effort – one that
resulted in bringing up an integrated pharmacy systems-CPOE
solution from Eclipsys for about 5,000 physician, nurses and
other clinicians at the tertiary care/academic institution
between March 24-26.

(April 11, 2007)



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Banks Morph Into Health IT Engines


You’re online doing monthly bill paying on your bank’s Web
site. After making your payments, you take a moment to click
on the latest update of your medical record. Does this sound
like a pipedream, nightmare or near-term reality? Based on
the momentum of the Medical Banking Project, this type of
service could be available sooner than you might think.

(April 10, 2007)



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Iowa Docs Get Discounts


The Iowa Medical Society, West Des Moines, will offer its
4,600 physician members preferred pricing on clinical and
revenue cycle management services from athenahealth Inc.

(April 10, 2007)



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Report Reveals Evolving Role of Healthcare Privacy Officer


In light of new privacy-related issues including the
evolution of health information exchanges, state-level
privacy and security standards that are more stringent than
the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPAA) and numerous high-profile security and privacy
breaches, the role of privacy officers in healthcare has
evolved over the past four years, according to a report
issued by the American Health Information Management
Association.

(April 10, 2007)



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VA Takes the Lead in Paperless Care – Computerized Medical
Records Promise Lower Costs and Better Treatment


Divya Shroff, a staff physician at the Veterans Affairs
Medical Center in Northwest Washington, stops what she’s
doing to answer her phone: It’s a doctor down the hall who
needs help with a man struggling to breathe. She calls up
the patient’s medical record on the computer at her desk and
scrolls through lab reports, doctors’ notes, X-rays and
EKGs, thinking out loud with the medical resident, who is at
the man’s bedside.

(April 10, 2007)



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Medsphere’s OpenVista EHR Goes Live at State Hospital in
West Virginia


Medsphere Systems Corporation today announced the successful
deployment of its OpenVista® electronic health record (EHR)
platform at William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital, the first of
seven state-operated hospitals in West Virginia that will be
equipped with the system under a contract signed last year.
More than 280 physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dietitians
and other staff at Sharpe Hospital, a 150-bed acute care
psychiatric facility in the city of Weston, are now using
OpenVista to record and retrieve patient information
electronically. The installation of OpenVista at Sharpe was
completed in less than a year. Clinicians from the hospital
entered 1,962 orders and 2,323 progress notes into the
OpenVista EHR in the first three days of live operation,
reflecting immediate user acceptance of the technology.

(April 10, 2007)



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18th Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey: Health IT Remains
Primary Focus to Reduce Medical Errors and Improve Patient
Safety


Improving quality of care and patient (customer)
satisfaction have remained at the hub of the evolving
healthcare delivery system…and according to the 360
healthcare IT professionals who responded to the 18th Annual
HIMSS Leadership Survey…they are also the top business
issues impacting healthcare in the next two years.

(April 10, 2007)



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HIMSS Survey: EMR Use Growing


Thirty-two percent of provider organization respondents to a
recent survey reported their organization has a fully
operational electronic medical records system. That figure
compares with 24% reporting full operational status last
year in the same survey, and 18% in 2005. Further, 37% of
respondent organizations are presently implementing an EMR
and another 6% have signed a contract to buy the technology.
Only 8% of respondent organizations have no plans to
implement an EMR, half the rate of two years ago.

(April 10, 2007)



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Rx for quality


In 2005, hospital-acquired infections in Pennsylvania led to
nearly 2,500 deaths and more than $3.5 billion in hospital
charges.
Since most hospital-acquired infections are preventable,
significant cost savings and improved quality of care can be
realized by eliminating them. Improving quality of care
denotes one health care reform in Gov. Rendell’s
"Prescription for Pennsylvania" proposal designed to
restructure the state’s deteriorating health care system.

(April 9, 2007)



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Medical Data May Go Online


Your doctor in Tampa knows you’re allergic to penicillin.
What about the hospital in Miami, where you’re headed for a
two-week vacation? Soon, doctors and hospitals throughout
the state may obtain such information via the Internet
instead of relying on patients and their families to provide
it.

(April 9, 2007)



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Wal-Mart to apply its IT expertise to healthcare


Retail giant Wal-Mart not only plans to invest in healthcare
IT, but also intends to apply some of what it has learned in
the retail marketplace to help lower healthcare costs for
its employees – and the nation, a top Wal-Mart executive
said Friday. “It occurred to us that there are lessons to be
learned from other sectors that could be applied to
healthcare,” said Carolyn Walton, vice president of the
information systems division for Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc. recently announced it would partner with the University
of Arkansas and Blue Cross Blue Shield to conduct research
on how to advance healthcare IT in the United States.

(April 9, 2007)



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Testing Tomorrow’s Health Care – Today


A rural community builds an advanced broadband
infrastructure and becomes a testbed for 21st-century
medicine.

(April 8, 2007)



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Telemedicine Adoption: A Long Time Coming?


The concept of telemedicine might seem futuristic to some,
but the technology, in fact, has been around for decades.
However, aside from early adopters, widespread integration
of telemedicine has been delayed in part because of
technological, financial and organizational barriers.

(April 6, 2007)



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Retail Clinics Set EHR Standards


The Convenient Care Association has issued mandatory
standards of care for its member organizations that operate
more than 300 retail clinics in 21 states. Members have
committed, for instance, to using electronic health records
software in their clinics and to share the records in paper
or electronic formats with patients’ primary care physicians
and hospitals.

(April 6, 2007)



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Project to Evaluate Web Portal Use


Three dozen physician practices helping to create a new
model of care will use various levels of Web portal
technology from Medfusion Inc., Raleigh, N.C. The practices
are participating in the American Academy of Family
Physicians’ TransforMED program launched a year ago. Under
the project, offices are being redesigned to be more
functional and workflow-friendly, and new processes are
being developed to focus on quality, safety and alternative
reimbursement models. The care model also calls for adoption
of electronic health records, e-prescribing, clinical
decision support, secure messaging and Web portal software.

(April 6, 2007)



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Rural areas get $153M for e-health, e-education


The Agriculture Department has made available $153 million
for distance learning and telemedicine in rural communities:
$62.9 million for distance learning and telemedicine loans,
$75 million in loan and grant combinations, and $15 million
in grants for rural communities.

(April 6, 2007)



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Study Recommends Ways to Resolve Health Information Security
Issues


Establishing a health information exchange policy research
and coordinating center for Wyoming is among the
recommendations resulting from a year-long study of security
issues in health information. Recommendations were discussed
during a recent workshop in Casper, sponsored by the Center
for Rural Health Research and Education (CRHRE) in the
University of Wyoming College of Health Sciences. The
workshop culminated the project funded by the Agency for
Healthcare Quality and Research and managed by the National
Governors’ Association and RTI International. The project’s
goal was to resolve privacy and security policy questions
affecting the exchange of electronic health information
among the numerous organizations within the health care
community, says Rex Gantenbein, CRHRE director.

(April 6, 2007)



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Report: More research needed for Medicaid to use health IT


An expert advisory panel has recommended that the federal
government do more research to help Medicaid agencies
identify opportunities for incorporating health information
technology into the country’s largest health care program.
“Medicaid can have an influential role in the adoption” of
health IT and health information exchanges, according to the
new report from the Center for Health Policy and Research at
the University of Massachusetts Medical School. It also
states that health IT could increase the efficiency and
effectiveness of Medicaid programs, which the states operate
with substantial federal support.

(April 6, 2007)



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USDA announces funding for rural telemedicine


The U.S. Department of Agriculture will offer $128 million
in loans and grants for telemedicine and distance learning
in 2007, a USDA representative announced Thursday. USDA
intends to make $62.9 million available for loans, $50
million available for loan and grant combinations, and $15
million available for grants alone, said Agriculture Under
Secretary for Rural Development Thomas C. Dorr.


(April 6, 2007)



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CMS announces measures for P4P reporting amid industry
concerns


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released
information this week on how doctors will be measured for
quality performance under the voluntary 2007 Physician
Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI). The 74 measures include
aspects of treatment and screening for Medicare patients
with diabetes, heart disease, depression, stroke, glaucoma,
cataracts, osteoporosis, melanoma, end stage renal disease,
asthma and pneumonia. In a statement Tuesday, CMS said it
may expand specifications later to include additional
eligible professionals. According to a law passed last
December, doctors who measure and report their performance
from July 1 to December 31 of this year based on the
measures will receive a bonus payment of 1.5 percent of
their total allowed charges under Medicare. Medicare
officials have made it clear that though physician pay for
performance (P4P) is only in the voluntary stages now, CMS
may one day make it a permanent aspect of Medicare.

(April 5, 2007)



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Physicians, surgeons urge states to guard patient privacy


At a meeting of the State Alliance for e-Health last week, a
representative of the Association of American Physicians and
Surgeons urged the newly formed organization to use care
when it comes to patient privacy. Kathryn Serkes, a public
affairs officer for AAPS told the Alliance that healthcare
IT should be market driven and patient-centered.

(April 5, 2007)



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ER Card developers attract ‘angel’ investors


Health care investment group Angel Health Strategies LLC of
Providence has teamed up with electronic medical records
vendor Professional Records Inc., developer of the ER Card,
to establish ER Card LLC.

(April 5, 2007)



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Kansas Hospital To Get Technology Upgrade


Hospital District No. 1 in Crawford County, Kan., has
initiated a three-year IT upgrade for its facility and local
clinics in Cherokee, Kan., and Frontenac, Kan.

(April 4, 2007)



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Ohio Hospital Sets Sights on EHR System, Technology Training
Center


Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe, Ohio, will
partner with primary care physicians in the area to create
an electronic health record system for the community,
according to Mark Shuter, president and CEO of the hospital.

(April 4, 2007)



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Two Ohio Practices Get EMR, PM


PriMed Physicians, Dayton, Ohio, and Health First
Physicians, Cincinnati, will use integrated electronic
medical records and practice management systems from
Allscripts LLC.

(April 4, 2007)



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Redirecting health care


Many experts believe consumer-directed health care — giving
patients greater decision making powers through greater
transparency in pricing and understanding of possible
outcomes — is the path toward a better medical system. Yet
one of the key tools to constructing this new model still
lags far behind: the broad deployment of electronic medical
records and consumer access to this information.

(April 4, 2007)



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For the Record


A Lafayette entrepreneur helps local doctors go paperless.

(April 4, 2007)



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Study: docs don’t get full benefit from e-prescribing
software


Physicians who use e-prescribing software often encounter
significant barriers to adoption of the most advanced
features of such technology and believe that those features
don’t add value, according to a recent study in the journal
Health Affairs. The results of the study suggest that the
ways in which physicians currently use e-prescribing
technology differ significantly from the ideal promoted by
the advocates of e-prescribing. Researchers at the Center
for Studying Health System Change (HSC) in Washington, D.C.
conducted the study, entitled “Physicians’ Experience Using
Commercial E-Prescribing Systems.

(April 4, 2007)



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Canada’s New Government Announces Patient Wait Times
Guarantees With All the Provinces and Territories


Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced that all ten
provinces and three territories have agreed to establish
Patient Wait Times Guarantees by 2010… Canadians will be
guaranteed timely access to health care in at least one of
the following priority areas, either cancer care, hip and
knee replacement, cardiac care, diagnostic imaging, cataract
surgeries or primary care. These areas have been selected by
each province and territory based on their priorities,
capacity and different starting points. Today’s announcement
will be supported by Budget 2007, which set aside $612
million for the Patient Wait Times Guarantee Trust, $30
million for wait times pilot projects, as well as $400
million for Canada Health Infoway, the independent,
non-profit corporation through which Ottawa has been helping
advance the use of health information technology across the
country. “Our investment in Infoway will help transform
paper records into bits and bytes so patients and their
doctors have access to this essential data whenever and
wherever they need it,” said Prime Minister Harper. “This
will have a profound impact on the efficiency of our
healthcare system and that, in turn, will help the provinces
and territories implement a comprehensive set of Patient
Wait Times Guarantees.”

(April 4, 2007)



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Department Of Defense Announces Partnership With The Florida
Agency For Health Care Administration


The Department of Defense, together with Florida’s Agency
for Health Care Administration, has partnered to pursue an
interoperable network for sharing electronic medical
information. This marks the first time that DoD has formed a
network with and a non-federal entity to share electronic
medical records.

(April 4, 2007)



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New Speakers Added to EHR Summit




Health Data Management has added more speakers to
the lineup for its Clinical Automation Summit, to be held
Sept. 17-18 in Chicago. The conference will focus on
strategies for electronic health records success. Among the
speakers added are: …



(April 4, 2007)



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CMS relaxes its insistence on provider ID adoption


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is giving
health care providers and health plans as much as a year’s
grace in which to begin using the National Provider
Identifier (NPI) as their sole identification number. While
continuing to insist that May 23 is the final deadline for
all those except small health plans to use the NPI, CMS
officials said they will focus on obtaining voluntary
compliance and will investigate laggards only when a
complaint is filed.

(April 3, 2007)



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U.S. Healthcare Market Offers Significant Growth Potential
for Healthcare IT Vendors


The US healthcare IT market is currently in its infancy with
low adoption rates across many segments, providing key
opportunities for healthcare IT (HIT) vendors wishing to
enter the market. The federal government is placing heavy
emphasis on electronic health records (EHRs) by providing
financial investment into demonstration projects and driving
the establishment of universal standards. The customer
environment is highly heterogeneous, adding to the
complexity of the marketplace but understanding the
intricacies and idiosyncrasies of such an environment will
be essential to achieving success in the US healthcare
market. "The US healthcare system is in a difficult position
as it tries to deliver quality care to a rapidly ageing
population, while reducing the actual cost of healthcare,"
notes Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Konstantinos
Nikolopoulos in a recent study on the U.S. Healthcare Market
and Implications for the Healthcare IT Industry. "Healthcare
information technology will have an important role to play
in the future of the US healthcare system due to its ability
to assist or directly address with these issues."

(April 3, 2007)



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Study: Medical Errors Increase 3%


Medical errors have risen 3% over the years 2003 to 2005,
according to a survey of over 40 million Medicare
hospitalization records from Golden, Colo.-based
HealthGrades Inc., a publisher of online profiles and
quality ratings of hospitals, physicians and nursing homes.

(April 2, 2007)



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Perspective: a how-to for RHIOs


Everyone knows the
adage, “If you’ve seen one RHIO, you’ve seen one RHIO.”
“There is no RHIO in a box,” agrees

Christina Thielst
, COO of Ventura County Medical Center
in Southern California. “Every RHIO is unique – a function
of the culture and climate of the community being served.”
Despite the general acceptance that every regional health
information organization is different, Thielst points out
that there are basic issues every RHIO must address. That’s
the gist of

The Guide
to Establishing a RHIO, which was written by
the HIMSS RHIO Guidebook Task Force and debuted at the 2007
HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans in late
February.


(April 2, 2007)



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e-MDs Connects Physicians and Pharmacies Across the Country


e-MDs, a leading provider of electronic health record and
practice management software, announced today that it has
completed certification as a SureScripts Certified
Solution(TM). Through the Pharmacy Health Information
Exchange(TM), operated by SureScripts, e-MDs users will now
be able to electronically and securely exchange prescription
information with community pharmacies. This includes
prescription refill requests, which physicians can receive
via their office computer instead of their fax machine.
Refill authorizations, or denials, can then be
electronically communicated back to the pharmacy with a just
a few clicks of a computer mouse, thereby eliminating many
of the faxes and phone calls associated with the traditional
refill process. New prescriptions can also be sent
electronically, directly to pharmacy computers before a
patient ever leaves their physician’s office.

(April 2, 2007)



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State Alliance for e-Health to study sustainable PHR models


The State Alliance for E-Health will study sustainable
models for personal health records over the next year, with
a commitment to seriously address the issue in 2008.
Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, co-chairman of the alliance
said the vote last week to study the issue of sustainability
is an important one because there is “such an enormous gap
in what is actually sustainable and the very high-minded
things we’re all talking about.” Among the “high-minded”
concepts might be the Dossia project under development
through $15 million in seed funding from a coalition of
Applied Materials, BP America, Intel Corp. , Pitney Bowes,
Wal-Mart and Cardinal Health.

(April 2, 2007)



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Google joins fight for better healthcare info


President Bush is not the only one pressing for more
information to be available to healthcare consumers.
According to Adam Bosworth, vice president of Google, the
search engine giant is trying to make healthcare queries
more productive. At the Fourth Health Information Technology
Summit in Washington, DC, March 28-30, Bosworth explained
that Google administrators have struggled with serious
illness in their families and have had difficulty locating
information on diseases and healthcare providers. “It
bitterly brought home to us that there is not enough
information out there,” Bosworth said. That’s when the
company decided to improve the information that comes up in
a Google search on health information, Bosworth said.

(April 2, 2007)



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Health Information Technology: Are Long Term Care Providers
Ready?


This report explores the readiness for health information
technology (HIT) from the perspective of California’s long
term care providers: nursing facilities, residential care
facilities, and community-based service providers.

(April 1, 2007)



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Behind the Wires


Andrew Wiesenthal oversees Kaiser Permanente’s massive
effort to connect thousands of physicians and millions of
patients on a single platform. You could call it the mother
of all electronic medical record projects. Touted by
Oakland, Calif.-based health plan Kaiser Permanente as “the
largest civilian EMR system,” KP HealthConnect is indeed
big. Representing more than $3 billion in capital outlay, KP
HealthConnect aims to link 13,000 physicians and 8.6 million
patients on a common EMR platform. And square in the middle
of it all stands Andrew M. Wiesenthal, M.D., the
pediatrician turned associate executive director of the
Permanente Federation, the health plan’s independently
operated but tightly controlled medical group.

(April 1, 2007)



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Avoidable Harm


The Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s 100,000 Lives
campaign was yet another step in the drive to revolutionize
patient safety. The next logical extension was to look away
from avoidable patient deaths and focus on improving the
rates of avoidable patient harm.

(April 1, 2007)



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Standardizing Medication Reconciliation Across Facilities


Devising an effective strategy for reconciling patient
medications is difficult enough to do at one facility. The
Illinois Hospital Association took the task to another level
by coordinating the development of a standard medication
reconciliation process at 26 facilities across the state.
Becky Steward, who managed the project for the association,
said the task imparted valuable lessons about the numerous
complexities surrounding medication reconciliation. Steward
spoke during the Nursing Informatics Symposium at the 2007
HIMSS Conference.

(April 1, 2007)



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McKesson Ramps Up Group Practice Push


Seeking to capitalize on what it characterizes as a "very
active" electronic medical records market among physician
group practices, McKesson Corp. has plans to fold its most
recent acquisition into a two-prong strategy aimed at
cracking open the group practice market.

(April 1, 2007)



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Making Sense of Business Analytics


Organizations seek to gain efficiencies using I.T. to
measure clinical and financial performance.

(April 1, 2007)



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Erickson Health Takes Long View with Technology


Health Data Management recognizes the efforts of nurses to
drive I.T. adoption at a long-term care organization.

(April 1, 2007)



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Recognizing Nurses for Their Role in I.T. Innovation


More than one CIO has lamented to this magazine about how a
failure to get nurses engaged in an I.T. initiative set a
course for failure. That kind of feedback from the field is
one reason why Health Data Management has consistently
stressed the importance of getting nurses deeply involved
in, and keeping them well-informed about, technology
initiatives. It’s also the impetus behind our decision to
create The Nursing Information Technology Innovation Award.
We wanted to recognize nurses for their I.T. leadership.

(April 1, 2007)



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Tips for Improving CEO/CIO Relations


A solid organizational structure that involves a
cross-section of top executives in information technology
decisions plays a vital role in building a good relationship
between the CEO and the CIO. That’s the message the CEO and
CIO of The Ohio State University Medical Center, Columbus,
shared with the audience at their session at the 2007 HIMSS
Conference in New Orleans.

(April 1, 2007)



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Getting CFOs, CIOs on the Same Page


CIOs understand technology; CFOs understand money. But CIOs
also need to understand that if they don’t get the CFO on
board with I.T. initiatives, their plans can die on the vine
for lack of funding, said Dennis Sato, CIO at Salem (Ore.)
Regional Health Services. Sato and Salem Regional’s CFO,
Aaron Crane, provided strategies for CIO/CFO teamwork during
a presentation at the 2007 HIMSS Conference.

(April 1, 2007)



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CPOE Apps Put to the Test


Just because a hospital deploys computerized physician order
entry doesn’t mean it has increased patient safety-in fact,
sometimes CPOE systems can even lead to more errors,
according to David Classen, M.D., vice president at First
Consulting Group, Long Beach, Calif. "Can these systems
cause harm rather than prevent harm?" Classen asked
attendees during a presentation at the 2007 HIMSS
Conference. "How do you know if the installed system meets
safety standards?" He also cited research that estimates
CPOE systems do not alert caregivers about possible harmful
drug interactions more than 60% of the time.

(April 1, 2007)



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I.T. Helps Provider Avoid ID Crisis


Four years ago, when the Carolinas HealthCare System first
attempted to install an enterprise master person index, the
project did not go as planned. But the integrated delivery
network didn’t give up. It started over. An EMPI system had
to meet the needs of Carolinas’ 10 hospitals, 80 physician
practices and other facilities. And it had to update
clinical systems instantaneously when new registration data
was entered, says James Burke, director of information
technology. Purchasing an EMPI was essential because an
electronic medical records system also was being installed,
he explains. "With the creation of the EMR, patients were
going to have a medical record following them very rapidly
around the enterprise. We needed to be able to identify them
accurately from the moment they entered the delivery
system."

(April 1, 2007)



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Georgia Blues award hospitals teleradiology grants


The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia Foundation has awarded
$80,000 in grants to 11 rural hospitals to purchase
teleradiology systems. Teleradiology allows small rural
hospitals to connect with radiologists in larger cities to
receive and interpret radiology images. Utilizing state-of-
the-art digital technology and specialized computer
monitors, remote radiologists in Savannah, Atlanta, Macon
and other major markets will be able to receive images and
provide faster diagnosis and consultations to attending
physicians in rural areas.

(April 1, 2007)



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PHR pilot takes hold


Aetna executives say users of the company’s new personal
health record are giving it rave reviews. “Seeing the
information in one place causes people to ask questions,”
said Meg McCabe, head of Medical & eHealth Products for
Aetna. “This is the kind of engagement we’re trying to
promote.” Aetna launched the pilot program to three large
customers in February. McCabe said the pilot customers
comprise progressive companies whose holistic strategy is to
promote wellness for their populations and provide
information and engage members about their health.

(April 1, 2007)



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EHR vendor reaches out to IPAs


A healthcare IT vendor that serves primarily small and
medium-sized physician practices is attempting to grow its
business by building relationships with Independent
Physician Associations.

(April 1, 2007)



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Hospitals help physicians convert patient paperwork to
computerized systems that could improve care


Ask Dr. James Dom Dera for a pen, and he probably won’t be
able to find one. At the beginning of the year, the Fairlawn
doctor and his partners at Ohio Family Practice ditched
their prescription pads, paper charts and pens in favor of a
totally computerized, electronic medical record system.
Summa Health Network, the contracting arm of Summa Health
System that negotiates with insurers on behalf of Summa
hospitals and participating doctors, provided a $22,500
grant to help the practice buy the $60,000 system. Summa
also provided technical assistance, including access to its
server to safely store the electronic patient records. About
200 doctors in the Akron area have made similar deals with
Summa.

(April 1, 2007)



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New York hospital ready to push the data envelope


NewYork Presbyterian, one of the nation’s largest hospitals,
is the first to choose Microsoft’s Azyxxi platform to access
and analyze data from disparate systems throughout the
hospital. NewYork Presbyterian CIO Aurelia Boyer is counting
on Azyxxi to do for clinical data what a number of business
intelligence tools have been able to do with financial data
on the administrative side. In a word: Analyze. Analysis
makes the data more useful and powerful, which translates
into better patient care, Boyer said. But before data can be
sliced and diced it has to be readily accessible, she said.
Her plan for Azyxxi relies on the technology’s capability to
look at data across systems.

(April 1, 2007)



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New report: Hospital IT pays for itself


Information technology employed in hospitals across the
country makes economic sense, concludes a new
PriceWaterhouseCoopers report. More than 60 percent of
hospitals in the United States have made significant enough
investments in information technology to begin seeing
reductions in operating costs, researchers at the New
York-based consulting firm report. The report, the
culmination of two-years of research, asserts that
investment in information technology will improve hospital
business performance and that IT capital investment can
eventually pay for itself in the healthcare environment.

(April 1, 2007)



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Analysts tout healthcare IT as best bet for future


Analysts see healthcare IT as a good investment choice as
the country wrestles with spiraling cost. In a conference
call last month, analysts at William Blair & Company, a
Chicago-based investment firm, said the change to a
Democrat-controlled Congress in the last election worried
many investors in the healthcare sector. “Really, not a lot
has changed, but it’s causing investors increasing concern,”
said analyst Ben Andrew. “The real issue in our view is the
’08 election. The ’08 time frame is really when I think
these issues will come to the fore.” The issues are runaway
healthcare costs, a Medicare fund that is expected to become
insolvent by 2018, and how the government will choose to
handle these problems. Electronic health record systems and
other healthcare information technology will continue to be
safe bets for investors as they look to the stock market,
say analysts at William Blair. Analysts at Morningstar Inc.
, an investment research firm also based in Chicago,
concurred.

(April 1, 2007)



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PHRs – how personal?


Despite all the current focus on interoperability of
electronic health records, there is no doubt that
personalized health records will become more than an
afterthought as time goes on. “There are many parts of the
puzzle we are trying to adopt and PHRs will clearly be a
major part of it,” Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary Michael Leavitt, MD, said last month at an
American Health Information Community meeting. At the Health
Information and Management Systems Society’s annual
conference held in February in New Orleans, Robert Kolodner,
interim national coordinator for healthcare IT, said he
expects the advancement of PHRs to be the precursor that
drives President Bush’s goal that most Americans have an
electronic medical record by 2014. Rep. Patrick Kennedy
(D-R.I. ) last month introduced the Personalized Health
Information Act, which would require the government to
create a public-private PHR incentive program and trust fund
to pay physicians for enrolling patients in a PHR.

(April 1, 2007)



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Poll: U.S. not close to healthcare IT transformation


Seventy-five percent of the Healthcare IT News readers who
responded to the most recent News Monitor poll said the
United States is not close to achieving interoperability
standards and a system-wide transformation to healthcare IT.
These readers disagreed with statements made by Health and
Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt at the 2007 HIMSS
Annual Conference and Exhibition. Only 25 percent of
respondents agreed with Leavitt that the United States is
close to a system-wide transformation.

(April 1, 2007)



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RXHub receives e-prescribing accreditation


The Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission
has awarded its first e-prescribing network accreditation to
RxHub. RxHub electronically routes patient-specific
medication history and pharmacy benefit information to
caregivers at every point of care.

(April 1, 2007)



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CCHIT approves 2007 ambulatory EHR criteria


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology has unanimously approved its 2007 criteria for
ambulatory electronic health records. The criteria will take
effect May 1, when CCHIT begins taking applications.

(April 1, 2007)



<Back to top>

 

March
2007





States collaborate on Medicaid EHRs


About half of the 27 states that received $103.6 million in
federal grants for Medicaid information systems this year
have agreed to share the results of their projects to
develop e-health records and related systems. “Basically,
once it’s built, it’s shared” among the 12 collaborating
states and Washington, D.C., said Anthony Rodgers, director
of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System.

(March 30, 2007)



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Florida Hospital Digitizes Entire New Facility


Homestead Hospital in Florida soon will open a revamped
complex that will feature technology upgrades such as online
test results and patient tracking systems.

(March 30, 2007)



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Proof of Impact: New Study Sheds Light on Economics of
Health IT Investment


While many in the health care industry say that investment
in IT leads to better quality and performance, there is a
dearth of solid evidence to support that claim. A new report
from PricewaterhouseCoopers aims to "retire the question of
whether IT has a positive impact on hospital business
performance." The report, titled "The Economics of IT and
Hospital Performance," used "econometric" techniques to
study the relationship between IT adoption and
organizational performance at nearly 2,000 U.S. hospitals
over a five-year period.

(March 30, 2007)



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CHC takes information technology to new level


Cascade Healthcare Community, parent company to St. Charles
Medical Center, announced this week its intention to move
forward with the next major phase in its transition to fully
deploy electronic records for patients throughout the
region. The new initiative, called HealthSync, is
unprecedented in scope for the region, and will set the bar
for similar technology and healthcare initiatives on a
national level. Hospitals across the region are currently
using multiple systems (paper and technology), and
caregivers, physicians and most importantly, patients, will
benefit from the move to an interconnected system which will
streamline processes and contain all necessary health
information in one place.

(March 30, 2007)



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Errors, Delays Linked to Disuse of Military EHR System


Inconsistent use of a Department of Defense electronic
health record system has caused medical errors, redundant
testing and delays in treatment, and it has prevented many
wounded soldiers from receiving benefits, according to
former defense and military medical officials.

(March 30, 2007)



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Free E-Prescribing Program Could Lead to More Health IT
Purchases


Glen Tullman, CEO of Allscripts, said that a partnership
with Dell and a variety of technology, insurance and other
health care firms to provide electronic prescribing systems
to physicians at no cost could lead to physicians purchasing
more health IT products from Allscripts.

(March 30, 2007)



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Congress should help physicians adopt IT, advocacy groups
say


The president of the American College of Physicians told
members of a Congressional subcommittee this week that a
full-scale adoption of healthcare information technology
would significantly improve quality in the U.S. healthcare
system. Lynne Kirk, MD, president of ACP, testified before
the Subcommittee on Regulations, Healthcare and Trade of the
House Committee on Small Business. She urged Congress to act
decisively to promote adoption of healthcare IT at the solo
and small practice level. “To achieve immediate quality and
healthcare savings through HIT (Healthcare IT), Congress
must recognize the significant financial barriers for solo
and small practices,” Kirk said. “It must offer creative
solutions to stimulate adoption of HIT (Healthcare IT) where
most Americans receive healthcare – in offices of one to
five physicians.”

(March 29, 2007)



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Kolodner says PHRs will advance healthcare IT adoption


Personal health records may be the fastest way to grow
healthcare IT, said Interim National Coordinator of Health
Information Technology Robert Kolodner at a summit held
yesterday in the nation’s capital. At the Fourth Information
Technology Summit — held for the first time in conjunction
with the Fourteenth National HIPAA Summit—Kolodner said
consumers will push their doctors to use electronic health
records, thus bringing the U.S. closer to the tipping point
for healthcare IT advancement. “It’s a matter of speculation
when the tipping point will take place,” Kolodner said. “We
won’t really know when it will take place until we look
back.”

(March 29, 2007)



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Bill Clinton Backs Electronic Health Records


Former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Thursday advocated an
electronic medical records (EMR) law and said blogs could
aid the U.S. political process… Electronic medical records
could cut US$100 billion of administrative costs of the U.S.
health-care system, on which Americans spend $800 billion
per year, Clinton said, referring to a McKinsey & Co. study.
An EMR bill backed in the U.S. Senate by his wife, Senator
Hillary Clinton of New York, and former Republican Senate
leader Bill Frist failed despite three years of bipartisan
effort, Clinton said. "That’s the number-one thing that can
be done right now to make the American health-care system
more efficient and cut costs," Clinton said. For one thing,
EMR would save the cost of patients recounting their medical
history every time they change doctors, which can also
introduce errors because they may misremember things, he
said.

(March 29, 2007)



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AMIA Announces the Formation of the Academic Forum


The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) today
announces the formation of The Academic Forum, to promote
the development of biomedical and health informatics as a
formal academic discipline.


(March 29, 2007)



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Doctors Community Hospital Selects HealthMatics Emergency
Department Information System from Allscripts


Allscripts (Nasdaq: MDRX), the leading provider of clinical
software, connectivity and information solutions that
physicians use to improve healthcare, today announced that
Doctors Community Hospital has selected the HealthMatics(R)
ED Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) to
automate operations and improve access to patient
information for its more than 50,000 annual emergency room
visits.

(March 29, 2007)



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Survey: Most U.S. Adults Satisfied With Health Data Privacy,
but Concerns Linger


Sixty-three percent of
U.S. adults said they agree completely or somewhat that
increased use of computers to collect and share patient
health data can be accomplished without jeopardizing patient
privacy, according to a

survey
by Harris Interactive.


(March 29, 2007)



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Delaware first with statewide health information exchange


The Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN) will go live
this week with initial functionality for a small group of
users. The network’s builders say the network is the first
implementation of a statewide health information exchange.
“All indications are that we’re going to be the first,” said
Paula Roy, executive director of the Delaware Health Care
Commission, which is developing DHIN. At first, the network
will deliver lab test results, radiology reports, and
admission, discharge and transfer reports to the
participants -– three hospital systems, five doctors’
practices with 30 offices and 70 physicians among them, and
LabCorp. More users will be added while the next phase -– a
record locator system — is developed. The network will
deliver all lab results, regardless of where they originate,
in the same standard format, said Gina Perez, the project’s
director. The reports can be delivered by fax or e-mail or
transferred into a provider’s e-health records system.
“About 30 percent of Delaware physicians have electronic
medical records,” Perez said, an above-average percentage.
However, they need only a PC running Microsoft Windows and a
high-speed Internet connection to use DHIN services. Two of
the medical practices in the initial user group will receive
lab results into their EMR systems in April, Perez said.
Hospitals and doctors in the state are eager to use the
network, she added.

(March 28, 2007)



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CIO Leadership Series: Tanya Townsend, Saint Clare’s
Hospital


Tanya Townsend didn’t
have much time to pass the all-digital challenge, but she
wasn’t dreading it, either. How many other information
technology directors have an opportunity to start fresh with
a new building, new network architecture, new people, and
new processes? Not many, and when the still-to-be completed

Saint Clare’s Hospital
in Weston went shopping for a
chief technology executive in 2004, Townsend beat out all
comers. Her mission – and, yes, she chose to accept it – was
to set the technological foundation for an all-digital
hospital that would hit the ground running with electronic
medical records,

Computerized Physician Order Entry
, and the clinical
processes needed to support them.


(March 28, 2007)



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Misys’ focus is back on doctors


Misys Healthcare Systems’ new general manager is charting a
new direction for the company — and that could mean good
things for Raleigh. Roger L. "Vern" Davenport arrived at the
Raleigh health-care software company a month ago with a
mandate from its London parent company to shape up the
business. Davenport’s strategy focuses on increasing Misys’
business with doctors’ offices, a sharp contrast to the
former CEO’s ambitions of competing aggressively for
hospital customers.

(March 28, 2007)



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Adoption of Health Information Technology Will Lead to
Higher Standard of Quality Care


The benefits of full-scale adoption of health information
technology (HIT) will be significant, leading to a higher
standard of quality in the U.S. health care system, Lynne M.
Kirk, MD, FACP, president of the American College of
Physicians (ACP), today told a hearing of the Subcommittee
on Regulations, Healthcare and Trade of the House Committee
on Small Business. “Congress has an important role in
promoting HIT adoption and providing the necessary initial
and ongoing funding mechanisms to assist physicians in solo
and small practices,” Dr. Kirk emphasized. “Unfortunately,
without adequate financial incentives, solo and small
physician practices and their patients will be left behind
the technological curve.”

(March 28, 2007)



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Wal-Mart, University of Arkansas and Blue Cross Blue Shield
Announce Center of Excellence to Boost Use of Information
Technology in Health Care Operations


Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., (NYSE: WMT announced today it will
partner with the University of Arkansas and Blue Cross Blue
Shield to create a research center to focus on improving the
health care delivery system with the use of information
technology. The Center for Innovation in Health Care
Logistics will be dedicated to conducting research aimed at
identifying and addressing gaps and roadblocks in the
application and delivery of health information technology,
and highlighting and replicating proven applications that
are working to

benefit patients and providers. The goal of the Center’s
work is to put the right materials in the hands of doctors
and nurses where and when they need them; it also aims to
eliminate the threat of medical errors arising from wasteful
and unreliable practices in health care supply networks.

(March 28, 2007)



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Lipscher: Veterans shouldn’t have to wade through tons of
paperwork


The recent headlines coming out of Walter Reed Army Medical
Center have shocked the conscience of our nation. The health
care process failed veterans in every way imaginable, from
forcing hospitalized veterans to live in vermin-infested
wards to requiring them to fill out reams of paperwork just
to be seen by a doctor. I can’t suggest much to do about the
rats, but I can offer advice for a long-term solution to
make the entire military medical experience more streamlined
and efficient, avoiding the long delays and the
transmissions of inaccurate information, or no information
at all, between departments causing vets to receive
inadequate care or be denied care completely.

(March 28, 2007)



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Cerner’s Role in U.K. Health IT Project Grows


Cerner has been awarded two contracts to help hospitals in
northwest and southwest England meet a government goal that
patients wait no more than 18 weeks between a physician
referral and hospital treatment.

(March 27, 2007)



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Survey: EHRs Can Be Used Securely, but Data Privacy Concerns
Remain


Sixty-three percent of respondents said that the transition
to electronic health records could be made without
compromising their privacy, compared with 25% who disagreed,
according a new Harris Interactive survey.

(March 27, 2007)



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Wyoming studies health information sharing


Many people aren’t wary of giving out their Social Security
number or typing their credit card number into the computer
to buy something off of Amazon.com. It is very different
when it comes to medical records, though, said Dr. Jerry
Calkins, an Cheyenne physician.

(March 27, 2007)



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FirstHealth Helps Develop National Model


FirstHealth of the Carolinas is so far one of only a few
health-care organizations around the country that are part
of the process to develop a nationwide system for the
exchange of electronic health record information.

(March 27, 2007)



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Midland Memorial Goes Live with VistA-based EHR


Midland Memorial Hospital in western Texas has become the
first private-sector hospital in the nation to fully adopt a
commercialized version of the Veterans Health
Administration’s VistA electronic medical record system.
VistA, or the Veterans Health Information System and
Technology Architecture, is a much-touted open source system
developed and currently used in more than 170 Veteran’s
Administration (VA) hospitals. VistA is credited with
helping turn the VA into a national leader in quality
patient care.

(March 27, 2007)



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Texas med school builds on VA EHR software


The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of
Medicine has begun deploying a public domain version of the
Department of Veterans Affairs’ electronic health record
(EHR) system developed by Document Storage Systems,
according to the vendor. The El Paso, Texas-based school is
the first medical school in the United States to fully
deploy the Veterans Health Information Systems and
Technology Architecture (VistA).

(March 27, 2007)



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Health providers slow to sign up for national IDs


Nearly one in five of the health care providers in the
United States have failed to obtain a new identification
number from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,
although the deadline for using the so-called National
Provider Identifier (NPI) is less than two months away. Even
those who have obtained the new ID numbers are not always
giving their new numbers to their business associates and
ensuring that the numbers are entered into payment and
claims databases, according to experts who testified before
the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics
(NCVHS) earlier this year. The results could include doctors
going unpaid and prescriptions going unfilled, the NCVHS
chairman, Dr. Simon Cohn, said in a letter to Health and
Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.


(March 27, 2007)



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Physician flies solo – Innovative doctor creates a one-man
medical office


Encinitas physician James Ochi usually plays the role of
healer on trips to impoverished communities in developing
nations, but last November in Uganda, he traded his
stethoscope for a camera… Years before President Bush
started touting electronic medical records as a way to make
the nation’s health care system less costly, more efficient
and better for patients, Ochi cut the cords to a big office
and a barely manageable patient list. “The way most doctors
run their practice, they employ a large number of people who
just push paper around,” he said. “That gets in the way of
the doctor-patient relationship. It didn’t make any sense to
me.” Using a laptop computer and off-the-shelf software,
Ochi created what literally is a one-man medical practice.

(March 27, 2007)



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HHS Launches Personalized Health Care Initiative


HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Friday detailed a personalized
health care initiative that will combine gene-based medical
care with health IT.

(March 26, 2007)



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Connor discusses latest HL7 balloting


A new batch of proposed healthcare information transmission
standards aimed at affording patients more privacy controls
over the flow of their healthcare information are up for
review, revision and possible approval by the healthcare
standards development organization Health Level Seven (HL7).
The 30-day balloting period opened last week under the HL7
ballot process on what Olympia, Wash.-based consultant
Kathleen Connor described as "e-consent standards."

(March 26, 2007)



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Northrop Grumman Wins Department of Defense Clinical
Information Systems Engineering Contract


Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) has been awarded a
follow-on contract from the U.S. Department of Defense to
provide systems engineering and integration support to
AHLTA, the nation’s largest electronic health record system.
AHLTA is the clinical information system managing electronic
health records for the Department of Defense Military Health
System. AHLTA supports more than nine million active service
members, retirees and their families worldwide.

(March 26, 2007)



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Home Monitoring Device Reduces Hospitalizations


The Home Care Services at Saint Francis Hospital in
Poughkeepsie, N.Y., provides about 30 patients with home
medical monitoring systems to improve care and reduce
hospitalizations.

(March 23, 2007)



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New York County To Build Health Information Network


The Genesee Valley Health Partnership in Livingston County,
N.Y., has received a $100,000 grant from Excellus Blue Cross
Blue Shield to develop a countywide electronic health data
network.

(March 23, 2007)



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Telemedicine’s Benefits Could Extend to Quality of Life


Health IT proponents
often tout the technology’s ability to improve care and
reduce costs. But what about its ability to improve
patients’ quality of life? A study in the current issue of
the Journal of the American Medical Informatics
Association
suggests that telemedicine can have a
significant impact on the quality of life of patients with
head and neck cancers.


(March 23, 2007)



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Electronic records system assists


The Bush administration announced in 2004 that every
American citizen should have an electronic health record by
2014, yet only about 10 percent of hospitals currently
utilize such technology. Mercy Health Partners, a
seven-hospital health care system that serves Northwest Ohio
and Southeast Michigan, is among the small percentage of
health care providers that have implemented EHR systems.

(March 23, 2007)



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HIMSS issues how-to book on setting up a RHIO


“The Guide to Establishing a Regional Health Information
Organization,” a 144-page, step-by-step resource for anyone
exploring or actively involved in setting up a RHIO, is now
available for sale on the Healthcare Information and
Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Web site. The book
regularly sells for $78.00, but HIMSS members can get it at
a discounted price of $65.00. Written collaboratively by a
HIMSS task force of RHIO veterans and health IT experts, the
book provides practical “how to” advice on such issues as
financing; organizational structure; governance models;
master patient indexing; privacy and security; common models
for data exchange; and barriers to long-term financial
sustainability and survival. Readers will learn about
real-life case studies and ideas for potential uses for
RHIOs.

(March 23, 2007)



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Ga. telemedicine program takes off


About once every hour during the work week, someone in rural
Georgia visits a specialist physician without going far from
home, thanks to one of the largest integrated telemedicine
programs in the country. The program began 18 months ago
with an $11.5 million grant from WellPoint, owner of Blue
Cross Blue Shield of Georgia. Now in 39 rural counties,
patients and their doctors can visit a local presentation
center and meet remotely with one of 75 specialists in areas
such as dermatology, cardiology and pediatric medicine.

(March 23, 2007)



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Study affirms information technology-productivity link


With the U.S. economy
showing alternating signs of strength and weakness, a recent
study has given pause to business organizations that might
want to slow the pace of information technology investment
due to fears of a housing-induced recession. The

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation’s

recent report titled “Digital Prosperity: Understanding the
Economic Benefits of the Information Technology Revolution,”
focused on the role information technology plays in the
economy. Among its conclusions is that money spent on
computing technology delivers three to five times the gain
in worker productivity of other types of investments.


(March 22, 2007)



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California Hospital Converts to Digital Images


Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera, Calif., in
December 2006 adopted a picture archiving communication
system that provides physicians with instant, and even
remote, access to digital images of patients.

(March 21, 2007)



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Survey Gauges National Provider Identifier Compliance


The National Provider
Identifier compliance deadline is May 23, but just two in
five health IT professionals say their billing software and
practice management systems are ready, according to a

survey
by the Healthcare Information and Management
Systems Society.


(March 21, 2007)



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State leads pack in electronic health records

Arizona appears
to be in the forefront of a U.S. drive to
have all patients’ records available in
electronic form. At a summit meeting Tuesday
for the newly created non-profit Arizona
Health-e Connection board, members were
talking about creating a secure Web portal
as well as developing a system that would
allow physicians to communicate more easily
with each other about patient care. The
first milestone could be reached in 2009,
when all of the state’s 1 million Medicaid
patients are targeted to have electronic
records. Arizona is ahead of the curve in
bringing providers, employers and insurers
together to talk about electronic medical
records, said Janet Marchibroda, CEO of
eHealth Initiatives, a non-profit,
electronic health care information group.
Only 6 percent of the states surveyed by
eHealth are as far along as Arizona, she
said. President Bush has instructed federal
health officials to make electronic records
widely used by 2014. Gov. Janet Napolitano
told the 400 health care leaders meeting in
Phoenix that getting electronic records is
an achievable goal "for the whole state."



(March 21, 2007)



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HITSP work group provides panel with update


A federally funded committee seeking to harmonize healthcare
information technology standards received an update from its
new security and privacy work group Monday. In so doing, the
Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel took stock
of the chicken-or-egg situation now faced by the government
in its efforts to promote IT: Which comes first, the privacy
protection policy or the privacy protection IT standards?

(March 21, 2007)



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Colorado Foundation Steps Up Health IT Help


The Colorado Health Foundation will distribute $2.5 million
in grants this year to help safety-net providers in the
state adopt health IT.

(March 20, 2007)



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Canada Boosts Health IT Budget by $400M


The Canadian federal government on Monday announced an
additional $1.4 billion for health care, including $400
million for the Canadian health information network.

(March 20, 2007)



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E-Prescribing Takes Off in Florida


Transitioning to an electronic prescription system can be
expensive, but physician practices, insurers and pharmacies
in Florida are embracing the technology.

(March 20, 2007)



<Back to top>





CPOE Adoption Remains Low, Slowly Increasing


The first U.S. hospital to adopt a computerized
physician order entry system did so 34 years ago; however,
more than half of all health organizations still do not have
the technology, according to a survey.

(March 20, 2007)



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Lessons for Health Care Could Be Found Abroad


The U.S. health care system is among the best in the world.
It has achieved a 5-year breast cancer survival rate that is
at least a few percentage points higher than that in almost
all other industrialized countries, the highest rate of
screening for cervical cancer, better hypertension control,
and a sharply reduced smoking rate. Patients rarely have to
wait long for needed procedures and medicines. Physicians
receive intensive training and keep current with continuous
education. Hospitals are well-equipped and fully staffed to
meet health needs. This country also spends more on health
care than any other country in the world. But contrary to
popular belief, the health care here isn’t always the best.
Many other industrialized countries provide health care that
is just as good and sometimes better.

(March 20, 2007)



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MO HealthNet gets a boost


Restructuring the state’s Medicaid program and getting an
oil change seem an unlikely fit. But for Gov. Matt Blunt,
the way a company keeps track of a car’s condition could
provide insight on how to gauge a person’s health. "You may
wonder why we’re at a Jiffy Lube to talk about health care.
Well, I think it makes some sense," Blunt said today at a
Jiffy Lube station on Sandman Lane in south Columbia. "You
know that you can get your oil changed at the Jiffy Lube or
a Jiffy Lube in Florida, and they know about your car."
Transferring that approach to the health-care arena, Blunt
said time, money and patient safety could be enhanced
through electronic records, something he said he’d like to
enhance through his MO HealthNet initiative. Blunt used the
example of a boy who steps on a nail while playing baseball.
With access to electronic health records, a doctor would be
able to know right away whether the boy has had a tetanus
shot – something Blunt said could prevent a second,
unnecessary dose. "Electronic health records can help
improve and save lives," Blunt said.

(March 20, 2007)



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In the Year 2024


Where will you be in the year 2024? As a health care
forecaster, my clients have been asking me to scale my
health forecasts back to three to five years, shortening the
long-term, 10-year strategic planning trajectories we used
to do. However, David Brailer’s crystal ball envisions that
2024 is when the "full benefits" of health care IT will be
realized.

(March 19, 2007)



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Democrats gain the advantage on health IT issues


In the past year, lawmakers have struggled in their efforts
to pass health information technology legislation. The
Senate and House each passed a bill that they sent to a
conference committee by early fall, but the prospects for
creating a framework for a National Health Information
Network died without ever being presented for a full vote in
either chamber.

(March 19, 2007)



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Eclipsys Sunrise Clinical Manager(TM) Selected by SUNY
Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY


Eclipsys Corporation(R) (Nasdaq: ECLP), The Outcomes
Company(R), today announced that SUNY Downstate Medical
Center’s University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) will
implement Sunrise Clinical Manager and its fully integrated
modules, including Sunrise Acute Care(TM), Sunrise
Ambulatory Care(TM), Sunrise Pharmacy(TM), and
Knowledge-Based Medication Administration(TM) as part of an
organizational initiative to improve care delivery through a
clinical information system. Using Sunrise Clinical
Manager’s single integrated clinical platform,

SUNY Downstate Medical Center/UHB will connect its acute and
ambulatory care providers, enabling patient information to
flow seamlessly between the acute and ambulatory care
environments while integrating with the Pharmacy to improve
medication management. The medical center will also use
Sunrise Clinical Manager’s Knowledge-Based CPOE(TM) system
to establish standard care processes throughout the medical
center to help improve patient-care outcomes.

(March 19, 2007)



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One Scan at a Time: Moving Paper to Electronic


For many provider organizations, using document imaging as a
bridge to an electronic medical record (EMR) offers the best
solution to achieving a more fully digitized record until
more effective, enterprisewide solutions to electronic
documentation capture can be implemented. Not a
plug-and-play component of an EMR system, document imaging
requires sound processes and practices for an organization
to achieve not only its document imaging goals but also its
larger EMR and health data goals. It’s no small task, to say
the least.

(March 19, 2007)



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EMR Selection: Checking out the Lineup


With electronic medical records (EMRs), selecting the right
system can often be as intimidating as the implementation
process. With so many systems touting the same functions and
features, it can be difficult to determine which most
closely meets a practice’s or facility’s needs. Nor do most
providers have the depth of understanding required to make
that determination.

(March 19, 2007)



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Hospital EMR use not yet widespread


Only 11% of community hospitals have fully implemented EMR
systems, while 57% have "partially" implemented systems and
32% have not started. About 16% of hospitals said they had
most or all functions of an EMR in place in 2006, up from
10% in 2005. The rate of EMR use in physician practices is
estimated at 20%. Cost is the main barrier to EMR
implementation, as cited by 86% of the hospitals responding.

(March 19, 2007)



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Initial investment high, but move to electronics records
improving efficiency and care


Meg Warren sat on an exam table at the Westchester Medical
Group and her doctor peppered her with questions. Heart
palpitations? Dizziness? Medications? As she answered, a
discordant sound filled the air – the clicking of computer
keys. Dr. Steven Meixler made notes in Warren’s chart as
doctors have done for generations, but there was not a
manila folder in sight. The information was entered in the
computer and when Warren, a 41-year-old nurse who lives in
Washingtonville, asked for some test results, Meixler pulled
them up in seconds. In the old days he’d be as likely to be
rifling through papers for a report that may nor may not be
there.

(March 18, 2007)



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JRMC Honored for ECLIPSYS Use


Jefferson Regional Medical Center has been honored for its
use of an electronic documentation program, and personnel
from other hospitals are traveling to Pine Bluff to observe
the system. The Eclipsys program creates electronic medical
records for patients at the hospital and will eventually
eliminate paper processes. The system has improved
efficiency in accessing information, according to Michelle
Powell, clinical nurse manager. Hospital personnel are just
a “click away” from access to the records of patients.

(March 18, 2007)



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Lack of Competition Hinders Technology Innovation, Increases
Costs


It seems employers and government leaders constantly are
complaining about the lack of transparency and the soaring
costs of our health care system, but could they actually be
to blame? "A lot of people estimate that one out of every
three health care dollars is wasted," John Goodman,
president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, said,
adding, "This is the kind of waste that doesn’t exist in a
normal competitive market."

(March 16, 2007)



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EHR still top health IT priority: survey


Moving toward an
electronic health record remained the top healthcare
information technology systems priority, although other
applications gained ground, according to respondents to this
year’s annual Modern Healthcare Survey of Executive
Opinions on Key Information Technology Issues.


(March 16, 2007)



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EHR vendor links with Google for free service


Start-up electronic health record vendor Practice Fusion has
struck a deal with Web search giant Google to provide a
full-featured EHR for free, the first time such a product
has been available to physicians at no cost as an on-demand
Web service.

(March 16, 2007)



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Does Santa Barbara RHIO shutdown affect California HIE
efforts?


The Santa Barbara Co. Care Data Exchange (SBCCDE) was the
oldest regional health information organization (RHIO) in
the country until it ended its efforts last week. Depending
upon whom you talk to, the shutdown is either major news or
a mere blip on the health information exchange (HIE) radar
screen. Karen Hunt, director of communications for CalRHIO,
sees no impact from SBCCDE’s closure. “CalRHIO and local and
regional efforts have been moving forward during all the
time that Santa Barbara was stalled and finally closed,” she
said. “California healthcare organizations and payers in the
state recognize the importance and benefits of HIE.” She
pointed out that Governor Schwarzenegger issued an executive
order supporting healthcare information technology and HIEs
earlier this week. Furthermore, CalRHIO announced a few days
later that it had selected its technology partners to
connect communities and the entire state with a suite of
affordable, secure, privacy-protected services.


(March 16, 2007)



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Analysts see healthcare IT as good investment choice


Electronic health record systems and other healthcare
information technology are safe bets for investors as they
look to the stock market, say analysts at William Blair &
Company, a Chicago-based investment firm. In a conference
call last week, the analysts said the change to a
Democratic-controlled Congress in the last election worried
many investors in the healthcare sector.

(March 16, 2007)



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CCHIT approves 2007 ambulatory EHR testing criteria


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology (CCHIT) announced Wednesday that it unanimously
approved its new 2007 criteria for ambulatory electronic
health records to be published March 19. The criteria will
take effect May 1 when CCHIT will begin taking applications
for certification, according to a statement released by
CCHIT. The Commissioners also approved test scripts for
inpatient hospital-based EHRs and are seeking public comment
online through April 13, according to CCHIT. Among a number
of new requirements this year in the ambulatory EHR
certification is that systems must be able to send
prescriptions and refills to pharmacies electronically and
demonstrate their product’s ability to electronically
receive standards-based lab result messages, CCHIT
representatives said.

(March 16, 2007)



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EHRs: The Feds get something right


Last summer, FP David S. Zalut of Voorhees, NJ, installed an
electronic health record in his practice. What gave him the
courage to write the check and take the plunge was a
little-known CMS program called Doctor’s Office
Quality-Information Technology (DOQ-IT). Under this
three-year program, which ends in 2008, Medicare’s Quality
Improvement Organizations (QIOs) in every state are required
to help primary care physicians adopt EHRs. "It’s the first
government program I’ve ever been involved with that worked
perfectly," says Zalut. "The QIO consultant came out and
interviewed me, saw what I needed in my practice, saw the
problems I was having, and quickly identified nine systems
that she thought would be sufficient for the size of my
practice." The consultant from Healthcare Quality Strategies
didn’t stop there, says Zalut. She gave him in-depth
information that the QIO had gathered on all of these
products, along with feedback she’d picked up from small
practices that used them. She also helped him analyze his
office workflow and make changes that would aid EHR
implementation. The "go-live" phase still had rough spots,
he says; but four months later, he’s documenting visits
during patient encounters without slowing his workflow.

(March 16, 2007)



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AMIA and AHIMA Announce Support for 10,000 Trained by 2010
Act (H.R. 1467)


The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and the
American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)
announced joint support yesterday for legislation that calls
for a trained work force capable of innovating,
implementing, and using health communications and
information technology (IT). Introduced by Congressman David
Wu (D-OR), HR 1467 or the ‘‘10,000 Trained by 2010 Act,’’
would authorize the National Science Foundation to award
grants to institutions of higher education that would
develop and offer educational and training programs for
healthcare workers and professionals in applied health and
medical informatics.

(March 16, 2007)



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Facing the Future: New Report Looks at the Next Generation
of Health IT


While most hospitals to date have taken a "wait-and-see"
approach to adopting health IT, the challenges and pressures
the health care system faces in 2007 demand the use and
adoption of IT, according to a new report by First
Consulting Group. Health care organizations must achieve and
maintain a minimum level of IT, including computerized
physician order entry and clinical decision support, to
counter increasing costs, sicker patients and clinical staff
shortages, the report asserts. To be successful, health IT
efforts need to be seen as quality projects as opposed to
simply IT initiatives and must be usable and provide
improvements in the future. For years, health IT has been
more in a state of imagination and contemplation than real
progress and action. However, now that the business,
provider and legislative stars are beginning to align, it’s
time to take a glimpse at what’s to come for health IT.

(March 15, 2007)



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Federal Advisory Committee Recommends PHR Certification


The American Health Information Community, an HHS advisory
committee, on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of
recommending personal health record certification despite
minority opposition from its Consumer Empowerment Workgroup.

(March 15, 2007)



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New Jersey To Develop Patient Identifier Despite Failure
Nationally


New Jersey plans to develop a patient identifier that will
match patients to their health records through state and
regional patient indexes, a state insurance regulator on
Tuesday told the American Health Information Community…
William O’Byrne — manager of the enforcement unit, division
of consumer protection services at the New Jersey Department
of Banking and Insurance — said New Jersey’s unique ID
would be "cross walked" with other identifiers and could be
assigned at birth, a hospital, an emergency department or a
patient’s request. Patients also will be able to opt out of
the program. "The goal will be to reliably link a patient to
their health information," O’Byrne said. "We are also
looking at bar coding on health care identification cards,"
he added.

(March 15, 2007)



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West Virginia Likely To Pass E-Prescription Bill


West Virginia lawmakers in a special session on the state
budget this week could vote on legislation to allow
providers to send electronic prescriptions, according to
Gov. John Manchin (D).

(March 15, 2007)



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Certification Group OKs New Ambulatory EHR Criteria


The Certification Commission for Healthcare IT has approved
final 2007 criteria for the certification of ambulatory
electronic health records.

(March 15, 2007)



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Schwarzenegger Signs Health IT Mandate


California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Wednesday
signed an executive order mandating health IT adoption,
increased transparency of health care cost and quality
information and improved accountability of public and
private health systems.

(March 15, 2007)



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Capital BlueCross initiative promotes e-prescribing


Dauphin County-based Capital BlueCross is teaming up
with a Maryland firm to help doctors adopt electronic
prescribing. Up to 1,500 doctors in the local health
insurer’s provider network will receive free handheld
wireless devices and free access to Prematics’ e-prescribing
service. The equipment and service will allow doctors
instant access to information about such things as the
formulary used by the patient’s insurer, the patient’s
medication history and lower-cost alternatives to brand-name
drugs. A doctor also will be able to send a prescription to
a pharmacy electronically.

(March 15, 2007)



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Not-for-profits still skittish on impact of IT subsidies


When David Brailer first stepped onto the national stage in
the spring of 2004, he laid out an ambitious program for
promoting healthcare information technology that included
leveraging hospitals’ investments in IT systems to benefit
their affiliated physicians.

(March 15, 2007)



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Are your medical records safe?


In light of the multiple breaches of personal information
held by state agencies in recent months, should Vermonters
be concerned about the privacy and security of their medical
records as the state moves forward with pilot programs in
electronic medical records (EMRs) and health care
information exchange?

(March 15, 2007)



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EHR Certification Levels Playing Field, Survey Finds


The cost of certifying electronic health records has not
been an obstacle for smaller EHR vendors, Certification
Commission for Healthcare IT Chair Mark Leavitt said Tuesday
at an American Health Information Community HHS advisory
panel meeting.

(March 14, 2007)



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California, Pennsylvania Join Federal Health Care
Transparency Efforts


A unit of the Pacific Business Group on Health will compile
information on physician performance from Medicare and three
California health plans as part of a federal pilot project
intended to help people make informed health care decisions.

(March 14, 2007)



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Outlook Dim for Passing Health IT Bill, Rep. Says


Health IT remains a top priority in Washington, D.C., but
few lawmakers expect legislation to pass in the near future,
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), chair of the House Energy and
Commerce Health Subcommittee, said on Tuesday.

(March 14, 2007)



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Survey: Staff Support Biggest Challenge for Health Care CIOs


The biggest challenge cited by health care CIOs and other IT
leaders is getting clinical and administrative staff to
regularly use installed IT.

(March 14, 2007)



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Governor signs order on health information


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order
Wednesday to stiffen state mandates to adopt health
information technology, make information on prices and care
quality more available and increase accountability for
public and private healthcare systems. The order is
consistent with a federal initiative promoted by the Bush
administration and a reform plan released by the California
governor in January. Schwarzenegger met with U.S. Health and
Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt in San Diego
Wednesday and signed the executive order there. The goal is
to reduce medical errors, improve patient care and keep
medical costs in check by providing accurate, updated
information to patients where they are treated.

(March 14, 2007)



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Dispute surfaces over certification for personal health
records


In a rare instance of public dissent, an American Health
Information Community AHIC) workgroup has split over whether
to recommend that product certification be available for
personal health record software. AHIC, a high-level advisory
committee to the Department of Health and Human Services,
sided with the majority on its Consumer Empowerment
Workgroup and voted unanimously in favor of the
certification recommendation. A minority — five members of
the 23-person workgroup — took the position that
certification would be premature and the top priority should
be privacy and security policies for PHRs. “The risks [of
certification now] outweigh any potential benefits,” the
dissenters said in a letter to AHIC.

(March 14, 2007)



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CalRHIO selects team to build health info exchange


The California Regional Health Information Organization
(CalRHIO) has selected the team of Medicity and Perot
Systems to build a statewide health information exchange
service. The nonprofit organization’s leaders announced that
the contractor team’s first step will be to help CalRHIO
find $300 million in private financing for the start-up of
the exchange, including a backbone network, marketing and
CalRHIO’s operations. The exchange will operate as a
utility, offering services to health care providers,
patients, government agencies and RHIOs in California. The
network can be used for local data exchanges or to link
existing exchanges with one another. User fees will support
the exchange.

(March 14, 2007)



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HHS panel recommends certification of PHRs despite dissent


The American Health Information Community (AHIC), an
advisory panel to the Department of Health and Human
Services, yesterday voted unanimously in favor of
recommending certification for personal health records,
against the dissenting opinion of some of its workgroup
members. At an AHIC meeting simultaneously webcast from
Washington, D.C. and California, five AHIC Consumer
Empowerment Workgroup members said it is too early for
government involvement in PHRs. According to David Lansky,
senior director of health programs and executive director of
the Personal Health Technology Initiative at the Markle
Foundation, the workgroup’s recommendation for HHS to
“encourage the certification process” for PHRs outweighs any
potential benefits.

(March 14, 2007)



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Clinic Combines Oncology, EMR Apps


Great Falls (Mont.) Clinic has implemented electronic
medical records software embedded with a chemotherapy
management application. The clinic, with more than 100
physicians, is using the IC-Chart electronic records
software of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based InteGreat Concepts Inc.
with IntelliDose from IntrinsiQ Research Inc., Waltham,
Mass.

(March 13, 2007)



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Linking EHRs to Practice Management S/W


Electronic health records (EHRs) are gaining ground in the
health-IT community, yet many of these programs are still
young and the funding waters still murky. While healthcare
providers can and do take their time transitioning to an
EHR, they can’t afford to miss a beat in the billing and
administration and have been relying on practice management
software for years.

(March 13, 2007)



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Fulfilling the PHR Vision: Analytical Interactivity
Empowering Doctors and Patients


COMMENTARY: In today’s fragmented healthcare system, patient
data is scattered among physicians, hospitals, lab
companies, and pharmacies. This can lead to medical errors,
adverse patient outcomes, costly hospitalizations and
disabilities. Efforts are now underway by leading health
plans and employers to aggregate patient information into
personal health records (PHRs). This aggregation of data
into a patient-centered and patient-controlled record can
empower consumers of healthcare and enhance care
optimization among physicians, other caregivers and
patients.

(March 13, 2007)



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California Health Plans Tout Success of Pay-for-Performance
Program


The Integrated Healthcare Association says it is
demonstrating a business case for its pay-for-performance
program, as participating physician groups are reporting
more IT capabilities.

(March 13, 2007)



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EHR Privacy Report Author Says U.S. Trailing Other Countries


Canada, the Netherlands
and the United Kingdom are far ahead of the United States in
creating and adopting privacy policies that allow patients
to have more control over their health information,
according to

a new report
commissioned by the Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration.


(March 13, 2007)



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Gingrey: Tech upgrade needed for military medical records


U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, a physician and member
of the House Armed Services Committee, made the following
comments regarding Walter Reed Medical Center after touring
the facility last week and participating in congressional
oversight hearings: “Walter Reed is an impressive medical
facility, but it is failing some of our wounded soldiers.
After touring the seven rooms in Building 18 that have
fallen into disrepair, I agree they are unacceptable for a
military health facility. “But mice and mold are not the
root of Walter Reed’s problems. I am very concerned that
overcrowding at the facility has forced the military to use
Building 18 at all. This overflow unit is only operational
because it takes the military too long to process soldiers
stationed at Walter Reed – and this needs to change. “Simply
put, the military healthcare system is in need of a
technology upgrade.

(March 13, 2007)



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Opinion: Privacy Could Trump IT Standards Development


If the federal
government does not react to the recent fury over medical
privacy, "all of their mysterious work to create a national
electronic [health] record system will [flounder] on the
shoals of public and congressional opposition," according to
an opinion piece by Health IT Strategist staff
writer Todd Sloane
.

(March 12, 2007)



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Pennsylvania Health Systems Look To Reduce Errors, Improve
Safety With IT


Health care systems in Pennsylvania have invested
millions of dollars on electronic systems to improve patient
safety and reduce medical errors.

(March 12, 2007)



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Massachusetts Health System First in State With Electronic
Disease Reporting


The Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts last week
announced that it is the first hospital system in
Massachusetts to electronically report communicable diseases
to the state public health department.

(March 12, 2007)



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Rhode Island Links All Medical Facilities for Disaster
Preparedness


The Rhode Island Department of Health and the state’s
hospital association on Wednesday launched a Web-based
program that can track hospitals’ patient capacity and
inform officials if they need to transfer patients.

(March 12, 2007)



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UC-Davis EHR Project Behind Schedule, Over Budget


The University of California-Davis has spent more and taken
longer than expected to set up its electronic health record
system, according to an audit of the program released last
month.

(March 12, 2007)



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What Killed the Santa Barbara County Care Data Exchange?


The Santa Barbara County Care Data Exchange is no more.
There was hardly an obituary to note its passing. A fitting
tribute might have included phrases like: "ahead of its
time" or "potential never realized" or "it was harder than
it looked." What might be more valuable than an obit is a
post mortem. The challenges that SBCCDE confronted — many
of which were overcome and some of which led to its demise
— are challenges that every care data exchange and regional
health information organization should study and address
directly. There are many lessons to be learned from SBCCDE’s
fate.

(March 12, 2007)



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California docs bullish on performance


The seven health plan members of the Integrated Healthcare
Association together awarded $55 million in 2006 to
California physician groups participating in the
association’s pay-for-performance program. With physician
groups reporting greater IT capabilities, IHA said it is
demonstrating a business case for its program.

(March 12, 2007)



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California looks into Kaiser’s EMR troubles


A California regulator is investigating purported
problems with the installation of Kaiser Permanente’s $4
billion electronic medical record system. But a leader of
the HealthConnect project says progress is "spectacular."
Kaiser Permanente has been publicly vouching for its EMR
ever since last fall, when a mass e-mail sent by a Southern
California Permanente Medical Group employee claimed tests
showed the system suffered frequent outages, claims backed
up by an internal Kaiser document leaked to the media.

(March 12, 2007)



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Baton Rouge hospital begins $15M rollout


Baton Rouge General Medical Center has launched a $15
million IT upgrade that includes the implementation of
clinical systems and the automation of its pharmacy. The new
technologies will support the hospital in developing an
electronic health record for both inpatient and outpatient
settings.

(March 12, 2007)



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Innovative Solution at The Scarborough Hospital Facilitates
Triage of ER Patients


The Scarborough Hospital (TSH) and Canada Health Infoway
(Infoway) today announced a new initiative to improve
emergency room service. Through kiosks in the emergency
waiting room at both hospital campuses, patients will be
able to enter information in seven different languages,
helping to facilitate more effective triage. Called
"Enhancing Emergency Services: A Patient-Centred Approach"
(EES), the initiative aims to better support nurses and
physicians with smart tools so they can work more
efficiently and effectively to enhance patient flow and

improve patient care.

(March 12, 2007)



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Using technology to cure paperwork


The days of bulky patient files are numbered. And in the
not-too-distant future, patients may be able to access their
medical records by logging onto their home computer. Arnett
HealthSystem and Greater Lafayette Health Systems have
joined the crowd of medical facilities across the country
implementing comprehensive electronic medical records and an
internal messaging system — which are designed to
streamline patient care while providing better oversight.
"It’s a huge change for the health care industry, but
banking went through this years ago. We’re way behind," said
Dr. James P. Bien, chief medical officer at Arnett Clinic.
"It’s a big cost for groups to do this, but the return is in
the ease of communication, patient safety and quality and
decision support. (You) have information available literally
at your fingertips that you might not have had before."

(March 12, 2007)



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Physician groups say IT is critical to new care model


Information technology should play a central role in the
coordination and integration of patient care across all
elements of the healthcare system, according to a statement
released last week by four major physician membership
organizations. The statement defined the essential
principles that would characterize a practice-based care
model for providing comprehensive primary care for patients
in the United States. Called a “patient-centered medical
home,” the proposed model would require changes at multiple
levels in the healthcare system but would ultimately lead to
improved outcomes, representatives from the physician groups
said. “We’re talking about significant change at the
practice level, a real transformation of primary care
practice,” said Michael Barr, MD, vice president of practice
advocacy and improvement at the American College of
Physicians. “We think that information technology will
introduce a new structure of – and process for – care to
physician practices.”

(March 12, 2007)



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HHS to launch e-health networks


Two new initiatives by the Department of Health and Human
Services will give people a first opportunity to gain
electronic access to their health records. HHS has announced
it will launch a nationwide network of local and regional
collaboratives. At the same time, the department will
release a request for proposals for a new version of a
health care network of networks that would be able to give
consumers unprecedented control over the dissemination of
their personal health care information. The department’s
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will administer
the network of health care collaboratives that will offer
people information about the quality and cost of health care
where they live. Concerning that program, HHS Secretary Mike
Leavitt said information is best gathered locally where
“providers and purchasers can meet eye to eye.”

(March 12, 2007)



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Local hospitals make upgrades to reduce errors


Area hospitals have spent millions of dollars expanding
patient safety initiatives to reduce the likelihood of
medical errors. Since January 2005, Wyoming Valley Health
Care System has invested about $5 million in electronic
systems to improve patient safety, said spokesman Kevin
McDonald. More than 70 percent of Wilkes-Barre General
Hospital’s beds are covered by a computerized medication
administration system, which ensures that the right
medication in the right dose is delivered to the right
patients at the right time. By the end of 2007, all hospital
beds will be covered by this system, which automates bedside
medication administration using bar code technology.

(March 11, 2007)



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Report Assesses Hospital-Doctor Links


Recent changes in the Stark Act and anti-kickback laws are
increasing incentives for hospitals to electronically
connect with community physicians, according to a new report
from First Consulting Group Inc. The earlier hospitals move
to connect with physicians, the easier it will be to achieve
true community interoperability, according to the Long
Beach, Calif.-based firm.

(March 9, 2007)



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CCHIT to provide certification across settings, populations
and specialties


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology is developing a concept that will allow
certification across settings, populations and specialties
over and above basic EHR certification. CCHIT Chair Mark
Leavitt, MD, made the announcement at a session of the
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society annual
conference in New Orleans last week.

(March 9, 2007)



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Statewide health data system is group’s goal


On Monday, Mississippi will move one step closer to possibly
creating a statewide health-information system that would
improve health care and perhaps make it more affordable.
Gov. Haley Barbour issued an executive order, based on
President Bush’s recommendation, creating the Mississippi
Health Information Task Force. According to the order, the
health-care goals of the task force are to increase
transparency in pricing and quality, to find potential
health-care information-technology standards and to promote
quality and efficiency in health care.

(March 9, 2007)



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‘Malaria TV’ Enables Remote, Collaborative Diagnoses


Three researchers at the University of Toronto have
developed Malaria TV, a low-cost technology system that can
be used to remotely identify malaria parasites in digital
images of blood tests.

(March 9, 2007)



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Report: Fragmentation Exacerbates Drug Error Risks


Fragmented systems and a lack of oversight raises the risk
of medication errors, according to a report released this
week by the U.S. Pharmacopeia Center for the Advancement of
Patient Safety.

(March 9, 2007)



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Cleveland Clinic To Monitor Chronically Ill Patients
Remotely


The Cleveland Clinic is building a system physicians could
use to remotely monitor chronically ill patients.

(March 9, 2007)



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AMIA Receives Grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to
Foster the Development of Applied Clinical Informatics as a
Medical Specialty


The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) has been
awarded a $300,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation (RWJF) to establish the foundation for a system
that will certify competency of physicians as a subspecialty
of applied clinical informatics.

(March 8, 2007)



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Policy group focuses on health care


In the end, there will be a report lined with
recommendations: This is what can be done to improve access
to health care in Marion County.

(March 8, 2007)



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VA Two Years Ago Shelved Plan for Sharing Service Members’
EHRs


A Department of Veterans Affairs task force in 2004
recommended the creation of a "computerized contingency
tracking system" that would allow the VA to download EHRs
from the Department of Defense, ABC’s "World News" reports.

(March 8, 2007)



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Ontario Health Network Links Region’s Hospitals


A health network in Eastern Ontario, Canada, recently has
begun sharing electronic health records among 18 of the
region’s 20 hospitals, according to Wilmer Matthews, chair
of the health network.

(March 8, 2007)



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Leavitt Praises Wisconsin’s Efforts While Stumping Federal
Health Plan


HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Wednesday said that Wisconsin
is "literally without peer" in following through on the Bush
administration’s health care goals.

(March 8, 2007)



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Virginia City’s Ambulances Go Wireless


The Richmond, Va., Ambulance Authority several months ago
installed a wireless communications system that paramedics
can use to access and transmit patient information while
picking up a patient or en route to the hospital.

(March 8, 2007)



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Texas Health Center’s Biosurveillance System Gets Tech Boost


The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston is
using Semantic Web technology to improve its biosurveillance
efforts, data sharing and domain-specific search engine
capabilities.

(March 8, 2007)



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New York Telemedicine Project Looks To Extend its Reach


State-funded telemedicine projects can help alleviate
shortages of medical professionals and ensure that patients
living in remote areas can access specialty care. However,
once state funds are spent on the initial costs, these
telemedicine projects face a new challenge: survival. "A lot
of the [state] grants are typically startup[s] … that have
been up until now projects demonstrating value, technical
feasibility and medical benefits. What has been a drawback
is a lack of sustainment," Richard Bakalar, president of the
American Telemedicine Association, said. Bassett Healthcare
in Cooperstown, N.Y., is just one example of telemedicine
initiatives that must consider how to sustain themselves
once start-up funding runs out.


(March 8, 2007)



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Privacy, funding doubts shutter Calif. RHIO


The Santa Barbara County (Calif.) Care Data Exchange, the
longest-running effort to launch a major U.S. regional
health information organization, recently folded because of
privacy concerns and doubts about ongoing costs, exchange
officials confirmed. Those issues had dogged the project
since it began in 1998, during the first dot-com bubble, as
an attempt to establish a medical data-sharing initiative
linking competing health care organizations. Technological
problems with how to share information securely while
allowing organizations to retain local control of their data
had largely been solved, however.

(March 8, 2007)



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E-reporting from labs gets under way in Massachusetts


A Boston-area hospital system announced today it is the
first in Massachusetts to implement electronic reporting of
communicable diseases to the state public health department.
The Cambridge Health Alliance, which operates three
hospitals and 20 physicians’ offices on the north side of
Boston, is using the Internet for secure transmissions of
reports drawn from the laboratory information system. The
new system delivers the information to state epidemiologists
within a day. The automated reporting system also improves
the completeness of required reports while reducing the
labor required to prepare the reports and send them to state
officials.

(March 8, 2007)



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AMIA Receives Grant from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to
Foster the Development of Applied Clinical Informatics as a
Medical Specialty


The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) has been
awarded a $300,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation (RWJF) to establish the foundation for a system
that will certify competency of physicians as a subspecialty
of applied clinical informatics. The growing role of
information technology within health care delivery
organizations has created the need to deepen the pool of
physician informaticians who are able to help organizations
maximize the effectiveness of their investment in
information technology and in so doing maximize impact on
safety, quality, effectiveness and efficiency of care.

(March 8, 2007)



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EMR Vendor Adds Education Content


Physician software vendor e-MDs Inc., Austin, Texas, will
integrate into its electronic medical records application
the patient education materials of Krames, Yardley, Pa.

(March 7, 2007)



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Comments from the HIMSS Show Floor


Given the variety and apparent robustness and sheer number
of health-IT products being displayed at HIMSS last week,
it’s hard to believe the healthcare industry isn’t further
along the adoption curve. Here are snapshots from a few
conversations with vendors on the HIMSS floor.

(March 7, 2007)



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Next Round of HHS Contracts Will Go to Users


The


Department of Health and Human Services
(HHS)
will solicit bids starting in April for trial state,
regional, and local user consortia to demonstrate health
information exchange, the next round of contracts toward
building a proposed National Health Information Network
(NHIN), top health-IT officials say.


(March 7, 2007)



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Critics, Advocates Question Patient-Controlled EHR Data


Robert Kolodner, interim national coordinator for health IT,
recently said that trials of the Nationwide Health
Information Network should give patients control of their
own electronic health records, although HHS has received a
variety of responses to the decision.

(March 7, 2007)



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Report Recommends Ways To Curb Medication Errors in
California


A California panel on
Tuesday

released a report
calling for physicians to use
electronic prescribing technology and for legislators to
adopt other strategies to reduce medication errors
.

(March 7, 2007)



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Kennedy bill aims to give PHRs a boost


Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I. ) plans to jumpstart the use of
personal health records through a trust fund that pays
doctors, in a new version of his bill introduced March 1.
The Personalized Health Information Act would require the
Department of Health and Human Services to create a
public-private PHR incentive program and trust fund to pay
physicians up to three years at least $3 per eligible
patient enrolled to use a PHR. Private partners would donate
funds to the Incentive Trust Fund. According to Kennedy,
PHRs can give patients control over their personal health
data while ensuring that providers have all the information
they need at the point of care, if the patient consents.

(March 7, 2007)



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Telemedicine Project To Link Rwanda Hospitals


Rwanda’s Ministry of Health has launched a telemedicine
project that is intended to expand access to medical
services to areas with limited health resources.

(March 6, 2007)



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Prescriptions in Australia Set To Go Electronic


The Australian federal government last week introduced
changes to legislation that would allow all physicians in
the country to have access to an electronic prescription
system to reduce medication errors.

(March 6, 2007)



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Six Washington State Health Facilities Pool Resources To
Adopt EHRs


Kittitas Valley Community Hospital and five other health
facilities in Ellensburg, Wash., have partnered to adopt a
uniform electronic health record system in an effort to
improve the tracking of patients’ histories, symptoms and
treatments.

(March 6, 2007)



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Personal Health Web Sites Pose Privacy Risks for Patients


Companies that offer consumers no-cost or low-cost Web sites
for storing personal health records could compromise patient
privacy by allowing marketers to access users’ personal
information.

(March 6, 2007)



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California Investigates Kaiser EHR Project


Despite alleged problems associated with the implementation
of Kaiser Permanente’s $4 billion electronic health record
system, a leader of the project said the progress is
"spectacular".

(March 6, 2007)



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Indiana Hospital Errors To Be Aired on Public Database


Representatives from five northwest Indiana hospitals on
Monday discussed their 2006 procedural mistakes, one day
before the state’s online Medical Errors Reporting System
goes live.

(March 6, 2007)



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Consumers Can Click for Quality on California Web Site


CalHospitalCompare, which launched on Tuesday, is designed
to serve as a tool for consumers to compare the quality
ratings of more than 200 hospitals in the state. The
no-cost, voluntary service rates hospitals on more than 50
performance indicators from the participating hospitals,
which represent about 70% of hospital admissions in the
state. The site is the result of a two-year collaboration
between the California Hospital Assessment and Reporting
Taskforce and the California HealthCare Foundation, and it
was developed with input from consumer focus groups to
ensure that individuals would be able to easily navigate the
site and understand the data.

(March 6, 2007)



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Survey: Physicians wary of pay-for-performance risks


More than three in four
primary care physicians favor pay-for-performance programs
if quality measures are accurate, according to a survey by
researchers at the University of Chicago. But most
physicians believe that neither health payers nor the
government would “try hard to make such measures accurate”
and there is little confidence this will change, researchers
found. Researchers also found that only 32 percent of
physicians support public reporting of the individual
physician’s quality scores, while only 45 percent support
public reporting of quality scores on the medical group
level, even if the measures involved are accurate.


(March 6, 2007)



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Patient control of EHR data on network gets mixed reaction


The Health and Human Services Department has received mixed
reviews for its decision to insist that the next iteration
of the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) allow
patients to control who sees their electronic health records
on the network. Dr. Robert Kolodner, interim national
coordinator of health information technology, said March 1
that trial networks funded by his office should give “people
the capability to decide how they view, store and control
access to their own information. A person could say how that
information flows to specific entities or completely block
the flow of information.”

(March 6, 2007)



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EHR disconnect exacerbates Walter Reed woes


Despite more than five years of work, the Defense and the
Veterans Affairs departments still have problems sharing
electronic health records (EHRs), said Cynthia Bascetta,
director for health care at the Government Accountability
Office, testifying last week to the House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee. The committee, chaired by Henry
Waxman (D-Calif.), focused its hearings on the unsanitary
living conditions and poor treatment of patients at Walter
Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. But Waxman also
asked GAO to report on a number of challenges service
members wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq face during their
recovery process.

(March 6, 2007)



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Perspective: Toward the larger vision




Mid-Rogue IPA
of Grants Pass, Oregon, comprises 80
physicians and serves a rural, older population of 85,000.

Health Choice
is a managed care contracting entity for
the MetroCare Physicians and Methodist Healthcare serving
Memphis and the Mid-south region. It has a network of 1,350
physicians and six hospitals and one children’s medical
center.


(March 5, 2007)



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Massachusetts Trial To Track Blood Pressure Wirelessly


Partners HealthCare in Massachusetts next month will begin
electronically monitoring the blood pressure of employees
from EMC, an information management company and one of the
state’s largest employers, to test if increased monitoring
and online feedback improve blood pressure levels.

(March 5, 2007)



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Many Washington, D.C., Hospitals Slow to Adopt Technology


Most hospitals in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area
are not integrating electronic health records because of the
high costs and "an unwillingness to adapt to" the new
technology.

(March 5, 2007)



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Washable Handheld Device Enables EHR Access


A new wireless handheld device developed by health IT
startup Emano Tec enables full, mobile access to electronic
health records, and it can be disinfected thousands of
times.

(March 5, 2007)



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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT FROM HIMSS: At Close of Conference,
Health IT Leaders Poised To Turn Strategy into Action


Leavitt said the next step is connecting the current
momentum at the state and federal level with key local-level
players "to make it real." "Now the strategy is rolling, and
the main question is, ‘How does this link up to what’s
happening here in my hospital, in my doctor’s office?’" he
said. Donovan, who attended an extensive symposium on RHIOs,
said the focus of that session "was really an urgency to
move forward into data exchange, get off the dime about
planning, get off the dime about applying for grants.

(March 5, 2007)



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FDA Panel Rejects Wireless Heart-Monitoring Device


An FDA panel comprised of outside medical advisers rejected
a first-of-its-kind wireless device for monitoring
heart-failure patients, arguing that the possible benefits
of the device did not outweigh the risk of surgery to
implant it.

(March 2, 2007)



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HHS Secretary, National Health IT Leader Tout Progress


HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt and interim National Coordinator
for Health IT Robert Kolodner on Thursday discussed health
IT progress, President Bush’s commitment to interoperable
electronic health records and the importance of privacy
protections at the Healthcare Information and Management
Systems Society’s annual conference.

(March 2, 2007)



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Nurse Informaticists Work on a Variety of Applications


Nurse informaticists are
most likely to be involved in the development and adoption
of nursing clinical documentation and clinical information
systems, with 77% reporting participating in each, according
to a new

survey
by the Healthcare Information and Management
Systems Society.


(March 2, 2007)



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Telehealth myths are commonplace, speaker contends


Using a David Letterman-style Top 10 list, seminar presenter
Joe Tracy counted down some of the most common myths
surrounding the telehealth concept for HIMSS07 attendees
Wednesday. From number 10 through number one, the vice
president of telehealth services for Lehigh Valley (Pa. )
Hospital and Health Network rattled off the most popular
misperceptions and misquotes about telehealth as follows: 1)
“Build it and they will come”; 2) All practitioners like it;
3) Training one person is all you need to do; 4) Broadband
is everywhere; 5) One size fits all and it’s plug and play;
6) If something goes wrong with a group of physicians, you
will get another chance; 7) The government is here to help;
8) New equipment is always backward compatible; 9) Networks
never fail; 10) “It’s just wires and doctors”. In addressing
each item, Tracy said telehealth can’t exist in a vacuum –
it takes a dedicated team to run it.
(March 2, 2007)




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Majority of market now adopting value-driven healthcare,
Leavitt says


Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt and
healthcare IT czar Robert Kolodner reiterated Thursday the
Bush Administration’s strong commitment to interoperable
health records in speeches at the 2007 HIMSS Annual
Conference and Exhibition. "There are four cornerstones that
have to be in place to get to a value-driven healthcare
system," Leavitt said. "The first is healthcare IT, and that
enables the other three, which are quality measures,
building episodes of care, and aligning incentives to choose
high-quality, low-cost providers."


(March 2, 2007)



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A Growing Divide in Healthcare I.T.


Electronic medical records and other I.T. upgrades are seen
as a "silver bullet" in the health industry’s struggle
against rising costs and quality problems, but high startup
expenses are creating a growing divide between big industry
players and small practices, said the keynote speaker of a
healthcare I.T. conference hosted by the Massachusetts
Health Data Consortium. Fewer than one in four doctors
nationwide have begun using electronic health records (EHR),
and most who are using electronic records have done only a
partial implementation, said John Glaser, vice president and
CIO of the Massachusetts hospital chain Partners HealthCare
System. Meanwhile, the Mayo Clinic is taking a lead role in
electronic medical records and large corporations such as
Wal-Mart are providing their employees with personal health
records (PHR), which let patients log onto the Web and view
medical information such as test results and instructions
for taking medication. Promoters of personal health records
say they let patients make better decisions related to their
care, but people who go to small medical practices may be
left out. "We’ve got a divide now and it’s going to get
worse in the years ahead," Glaser said. Many people believe
that I.T. is the answer to problems ailing the health
industry, and Glaser counts himself among them. But he said
people have unrealistic expectations for I.T. because all
previous approaches to containing cost and maintaining
quality have failed. "We ought to be real about this," he
said. The transition "will not be orderly. It will be
chaotic."


(March 2, 2007)



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IT adoption grows — for large, urban hospitals


More hospitals across the country are implanting information
technology aimed at improving patient safety and boosting
efficiency, according to a survey the American Hospital
Association released last month. Nearly half of all
responding community hospitals reported moderate or high use
of health IT in 2006. In 2006, 46 percent of community
hospitals reported moderate or high use of healthcare IT,
compared to 37 percent in 2005. The median capital spending
per bed for system implementation was $5,556 in 2006. The
median operating costs, which cover ongoing expenses, were
$12,060 per bed, a 4.5 percent increase over 2005.
Healthcare IT use was determined by the number of clinical
IT functions – such as medication order-entry, test results
review or clinical alerts – a hospital had fully
implemented. Hospitals also reported dramatic increases in
the use of computerized alerts to prevent negative drug
interactions. In 2006, 51 percent of hospitals were using
real-time drug interaction alerts, up from 23 percent in
2005.

(March 1, 2007)



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Baton Rouge hospital begins $15M rollout


Baton Rouge General Medical Center has launched a $15
million IT upgrade that includes the implementation of
clinical systems and the automation of its pharmacy. The new
technologies will support the hospital in developing an
electronic health record for both inpatient and outpatient
settings. “Because we’re a community hospital, we are
aggressively creating an environment that enables physicians
to work more collaboratively to the ultimate benefit of our
patients and the community we serve,” said Bill Holman,
president and chief executive officer, General Health
System. “By providing physicians with access to a connected
clinical solution, we are making it much easier . . . to
make more informed decisions that can lead to safer, faster
and more effective treatment decisions.”

(March 1, 2007)



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Lehigh Hospital to automate outpatient settings


Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, one of the
nation’s first digital hospitals and the largest academic
community hospital system in Pennsylvania, is rolling out
GE’s Centricity Electronic Medical Record to up to 1,000
local primary care physicians and specialists. “Today, 20
percent of a patient’s care is provided in the inpatient
setting, while 80 percent is provided by a patient’s primary
care physician and specialists in an ambulatory setting,”
said Harry Lukens, Lehigh’s senior vice president and chief
information officer. “The information within each of these
settings exists in silos, not easily accessible to multiple
healthcare providers. In addition to being costly and
inefficient, these silos can have a negative impact on
patient safety.” Lehigh has reported that the combination of
full hospital-wide implementation of computerized physician
order entry (CPOE) and barcode medication charting has
helped achieve a 44 percent reduction in medication errors.

(March 1, 2007)



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Denver Health gets help with CPOE


Denver Health Medical Center launched a computerized
provider order entry system, and selected The Breakaway
Group to help its residents quickly adopt the technology
through simulations and coaching. “To successfully deploy
CPOE, Denver Health needed a partner that would help our
residents quickly adopt the technology,” said Andy Steele,
MD, director of medical informatics for Denver Health
Medical Center. “Working with The Breakaway Group will help
us educate the next generation of health care professionals
in CPOE.” One of the fastest-growing healthcare consulting
firms in the country, The Breakaway Group helps healthcare
professionals quickly adopt new technology and equipment.

(March 1, 2007)



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Texas clinic learns lessons from Katrina


It’s not enough to preserve data to secure the safety of
electronic patient records, says James Holly, MD. “It’s
critical to preserve systems integration and continuous
access to patient health information with longitudinal
portraits of their health – that is the safety and security
thinking of electronic patient management,” Holly said
during an education session at the 2007 HIMSS Annual
Conference and Exhibition here last month. In his
presentation, “Safety of Medical Records: Lessons Learned
from Katrina and Rita,” Holly, the head of the Southeast
Texas Medical Associates in Beaumont, Texas, discussed what
the multi-specialty clinic did in response to Hurricanes
Katrina and Rita.

(March 1, 2007)



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S.C. med school expands EHR’s reach


In early April, the Medical University of South Carolina
will extend its electronic medical record system to the MUSC
student healthcare center. The implementation expands MUSC’s
IT Strategic Plan to a new care setting. The MUSC student
health center provides care to students in the medical
school and allied health profession programs, said Frank
Clark, CIO and vice president of the Hospital Authority and
Medical Center of South Carolina. The student center serves
about 3,000 students. “We’re a fairly typical academic
medical center with about 600 faculty physicians,” said
Clark. “We rolled out our EMR to the faculty practice last
December, and when student health expressed an interest, we
realized that this was an opportunity to continue to improve
the product and use it more efficiently.”


(March 1, 2007)



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HIMSS helping to rebuild New Orleans area clinics


While many attendees at HIMSS07 came to New Orleans in late
February looking to upgrade the IT systems at their own
institutions, the Healthcare Information and Management
Systems Society also encouraged its members to contribute to
the revival of medical practices in the Gulf Region damaged
by Hurricane Katrina. The HIMSS Foundation created the
Katrina Phoenix Project to help rebuild healthcare
facilities ruined by the 2005 hurricane. The project
coordinates donations of electronic medical record software
and services from healthcare IT vendors to practices in need
of assistance.




(March 1, 2007)



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Readers think NEPSI will lead docs to adopt EHRs


Seventy-five percent of the Healthcare IT News readers who
responded to the most recent News Monitor poll said they
believed the National E-Prescribing Patient Safety
Initiative (NEPSI) would provide an ‘on-ramp’ to adoption of
electronic health records by physicians. Twenty-five percent
said that NEPSI would not prompt physicians to adopt EHRs.
Eighty-eight people responded to the question.


(March 1, 2007)



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Iowa clinic to implement EHR


The Alegent Health Clinic is beginning a multi-year
transition to electronic medical records with an
implementation of the NextGen EMR at one of its 44
locations. Once the pilot site is up and running, Alegent
will roll out the NextGen product across all of its sites.


(March 1, 2007)



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Michigan docs invest in EMR


Michigan Medical PC will spend $35 million in the coming
years to fully implement electronic medical records. “This
system can really change how we practice,” MMPC CEO Ted
Inman said. MMPC, the state’s largest physician-owned group
medical practice, with 200 doctors and 90 other
practitioners, recently signed a contract to buy the new EMR
system from EPIC Systems.


(March 1, 2007)



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Consumers would pay more for docs with IT


The majority of consumers place some importance on whether a
physician has electronic health records when choosing a
physician and would be willing to pay for the service,
according to research released by Accenture. The goal of the
research, a survey of 600 U.S. consumers and interviews with
more than 100 physicians, was to gauge consumer and
physician attitudes toward electronic health records. Among
the key findings: Two-thirds (67 percent) of consumers said
that electronic health records are at least slightly
important in their selection of a physician, and half (51
percent) said they would be willing to pay for the service,
if the price were reasonable. At the same time, just one in
ten physicians interviewed (11 percent) uses electronic
records. Consumer respondents identified a number of
potential benefits from electronic health records. More than
three-quarters (77 percent) said that the benefits would
include greater access to and control over their own
records.

(March 1, 2007)



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Kaiser names new CIO amid EHR questions


Philip Fasano takes over as CIO at Kaiser Permanente,
charged with overseeing Kaiser’s $4 billion electronic
health record project. Fasano, a former CIO at Deutsche Bank
Group and JP Morgan Chase, was named senior vice president
and chief information officer at Kaiser Foundation Health
Plan Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. Fasano succeeds
Bruce Turkstra, who served as CIO for four months. Turkstra,
who had helped develop Kaiser’s electronic health record,
called HealthConnect, replaced J. Clifford Dodd shortly
after an employee sent an organization-wide e-mail raising
questions about the up-time of Kaiser’s Epic Corp. EHR.

(March 1, 2007)



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Massachusetts named top e-prescribing state


Massachusetts has been named the Second Annual Safe-Rx
Award’s Top e-Prescribing State. The commonwealth was
recognized for ranking first in the nation in electronic
prescribing by the nation’s community pharmacies. Richard
Moore, Massachusetts state senator and chair of the
committee on healthcare financing, said the success has been
cultivated through years of collaboration and facilitation
done by individuals and organizations such as eRx
Collaborative, MA-SHARE, Massachusetts Health Data
Consortium and the Massachusetts e-Health Collaborative.

(March 1, 2007)



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Integration in the OR


Three years ago, Baltimore Washington Medical Center adopted
wireless technology in its 14 operating rooms. The goal,
recalls Vice President and Chief Information Officer Dave
Peterson, was to give the circulating OR nurses who document
procedures more flexibility in their workspace. Using mobile
workstations, the nurses now work facing the patient, rather
than having their backs to the action as they did before the
220-staffed-bed hospital upgraded its legacy information
system. The change has been a real plus to the nurses, says
Joyce Myers, director of perioperative nursing at the Glen
Burnie, Md.-based hospital.

(March 1, 2007)



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Cambridge Health Alliance First in Massachusetts to
Implement Electronic Laboratory Reporting


Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA) announced today that it is
the first hospital system to implement electronic laboratory
reporting (ELR) of communicable diseases to the
Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH).

(March 1, 2007)



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Virginia Awards Grants To Advance Electronic Records


Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D) on Wednesday awarded three
grants totaling $750,000 to expand the use of electronic
health records throughout Virginia.

(March 1, 2007)



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What Can Docs Take Away from I.T. Giveaways?


The two lead stories in this month’s Newsline section,
opening on page 10, report on the growing trend of health
care technology giveaways. A group comprising health care
I.T. vendors, payer and provider organizations, large
employers and a sprinkling of other stakeholders have
announced a huge initiative to provide any physician with
free e-prescribing software. Meanwhile, WebMD made a news
splash by itself by announcing that it would offer free
online personal health records to every U.S. citizen. It
seems like everyone in the industry is trying to load up
physicians and consumers with armfuls of free I.T. A number
of payer organizations have footed the bill for programs to
give high-prescribing doctors free e-prescribing software
and handheld devices. In a few states, stakeholders are
banding together to give physician practices free or
below-cost electronic records software.

(March 1, 2007)



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Who’s Ready For Provider IDs?


Payer and provider organizations just now starting efforts
to comply with the National Provider Identifier rule likely
won’t be ready by the May 23 deadline, according to the
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services. CMS estimates it
takes an average of 120 days for a provider organization to
complete all the necessary steps for compliance. The NPI is
the second of the Health Insurance Portability and
Accountability Act standard identifier rules to go into
effect. It was issued by the Department of Health and Human
Services in January 2004. The effective date of the rule was
May 23, 2005, with compliance required within two years.
CMS, an HHS department, enforces most the HIPAA
administrative simplification rules.

(March 1, 2007)



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The No. 1 CIO Challenge


Being a health care CIO or information technology leader is
challenging on multiple fronts. Implementing cranky software
on a shoestring budget is a challenge numerous CIOs have had
to face during their careers. Dealing with staffing issues
and inflated boardroom egos also creates a great deal of
angst on a regular basis. But when asked about the greatest
challenge they face at the office, many CIOs don’t mention
technology as the stickiest wicket in their I.T.
initiatives. The No. 1 challenge to being a CIO, they say,
is getting clinical and administrative staff to actually
use, on a regular basis, the I.T. that CIOs and their staff
have installed.

(March 1, 2007)



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Rising From the Ruins: HIMSS Katrina Phoenix Project Aids
EHR Adoption


"This is solidarity, not charity." These words, painted on a
weather-beaten board leaning outside the Common Ground
Health Clinic in New Orleans, communicate the mission of the
free clinic. The decidedly low-tech facility stood in sharp
contrast to the glossy booths of health IT companies on the
HIMSS07 exhibition floor offering free lattes, fancy pens
and, most importantly, a vision of a state-of-the-art health
care system that could enhance care, reduce costs and boost
efficiency. Started by a group of volunteers about a week
after Hurricane Katrina hit, Common Ground is funded solely
by grants and donations, so it is not averse to accepting
help. However, Common Ground and other health care
facilities in hurricane-ravaged areas are focusing on
building partnerships — not pocketing one-time donations —
as part of the HIMSS Katrina Phoenix Project. Launched in
September 2005, the project was prompted by Dr. Alice Loveys
— a pediatrician that had been involved with HIMSS — who
contacted Pat Wise, vice president of health information
systems for HIMSS, and asked what HIMSS could do to help.
The HIMSS Katrina Phoenix Advisory Board then was formed,
and it convened a group of vendors, providers and
professional associations aimed at helping practices assess
their technology needs and adopt electronic health records.

(March 1, 2007)



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National health network plan empowers consumers


The Health and Human Services Department will ask for
proposals next month for a new version of a health care
“network of networks” capable of giving consumers
unprecedented control over the dissemination of their
personal health care information. Robert Kolodner, interim
director of the Office of National Coordinator for Health
Information Technology (ONCHIT), said the government will
seek proposals for a state- or regionally hosted network
that could enable consumers to direct their personal health
information toward — or away from — specific health care
organizations.

(March 1, 2007)



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Maine selects health info exchange vendor


Maine’s HealthInfoNet has selected a supplier for its health
information exchange software and is preparing to begin
deployment of a statewide network. The organization, a
nonprofit collaborative of physicians, health care
executives, insurers, consumers, employers, and government
and public health officials, chose a team headed by 3M
Health Information Systems. The team will provide a data
repository, master patient index and data dictionary for the
exchange. Thirty-two other vendors also responded to the
solicitation issued last year.

(March 1, 2007)



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Federal health IT office extends study of state information
sharing


The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health
Information Technology has signed a contract to extend a
project to identify the best practices for successful
state-level health information exchanges. The $800,000
contract would fund for an additional year the work of the
American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA),
the eHealth Initiative, and the Healthcare Information and
Management Systems Society to determine effective ways
health information can be shared between providers at the
state level. Robert Kolodner, interim director of ONC, said
the project by the three organizations comes “at a critical
time for engaging the states in a variety of activities for
advancing the health IT agenda.” He called the new contract
“a vehicle for making that happen.”

(March 1, 2007)



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DOD, Microsoft sign deal to data mine health records


The Defense Department has signed an agreement with
Microsoft under which the software vendor will help develop
tools and methods for analyzing the department’s 9.1 million
electronic patient records to find better ways to manage the
health of DOD beneficiaries. Under the cooperative research
and development agreement, Microsoft will work with the
Army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center
to extract, store and analyze data stored in DOD’s Armed
Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA)
electronic health record system.

(March 1, 2007)



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Bringing Home the Desktop


People expect to be able to work from anywhere with an
Internet connection. And Mississippi Baptist Health Systems
has found that one of the easiest ways to give employees
remote access to their e-mail accounts, online files, and
work-related software is simply to create an online link to
the desktop PCs in their offices. Employees who are
traveling or at home on maternity leave, for example, can
log onto the Internet using a laptop or a home computer,
visit a Web site called GoToMyPC.com, enter an e-mail
address and password, and within minutes be looking at the
desktop of their work computer.

(March 1, 2007)



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WebMD Hopes Revamped Site, Free PHRs Boost Traffic


The Internet portal of WebMD Health Corp. has long been a
major online site of medical and wellness information for
consumers and clinicians alike. The New York-based vendor
recently unveiled substantial enhancements to the site and
is offering its personal health records software for free to
all Americans.

(March 1, 2007)



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National health network plan empowers consumers


The Health and Human Services Department will ask for
proposals next month for a new version of a health care
“network of networks” capable of giving consumers
unprecedented control over the dissemination of their
personal health care information. Robert Kolodner, interim
director of the Office of National Coordinator for Health
Information Technology (ONCHIT), said the government will
seek proposals for a state- or regionally hosted network
that could enable consumers to direct their personal health
information toward — or away from — specific health care
organizations.

(March 1, 2007)



<Back to top>



February
2007





News Release: HHS Secretary Leavitt Unveils Plan for "Value
Exchanges" to Report on Health Care Quality and Cost at
Local level


HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today unveiled a plan for
chartering local collaborative organizations that are
working to improve quality and value in health care by
assessing the performance of local health care providers and
reporting these findings publicly. The plan would bring the
local collaboratives into a nation-wide system, and the
collaboratives would use nationally-recognized standards to
measure and improve quality of care in their local areas.

(February
28, 2007)



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Electronic Medical Data Network May Cost $51 Million


It’s going to cost Florida about $51 million to build a
secure superhighway for electronic medical information,
according to an estimate released Tuesday. But the money
doesn’t have to be spent all at once, author Paul Gionfriddo
says. Besides, he wrote, the resulting Florida Health
Information Network will pay for itself many times over.
Exchange of health care information gives citizens better,
safer medical treatment and saves money for hospitals and
others, from insurers and employers to state and local
governments, wrote Gionfriddo, director of the Palm Beach
County Community Health Alliance. "This investment … will
harness the power of technology to bring the state’s health
communication into the 21st century," he wrote.

(February 28, 2007)



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HHS Contracts with AHIMA, EHI and HIMSS to Develop and
Disseminate Successful Practices for State Health
Information Exchange Organizations


HHS’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health
Information Technology (ONC) today announced a contract
award to foster collaboration among state leaders in health information exchange (HIE) to identify and share emerging
best practices. The one-year, $800,000 contract with the
American Health Information Management Association’s (AHIMA)
Foundation of Research and Education (FORE) will start in March 2007. "Rising health care costs amplify our need to
identify successful practices that enable sustainable and
secure health information exchange at a state level," ONC
Interim National Coordinator Robert Kolodner, M.D., said.
"We are excited about this new collaboration with key organizations, which brings together state and regional
health information exchange leaders from across the
country." The project will work to identify successful governance models that include defined operations, resources
and finances to generate, support and amplify health information exchange.

(February 28, 2007)



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Moving From Ideas to Action at HIMSS07


In contrast to the
emphasis on the future of health IT at the Healthcare
Information and Management Systems Society conference on
Monday, Tuesday’s sessions focused on the here and now,
including practical options for overcoming implementation
barriers and recognition of progress in putting technology
in the hands of providers.


(February 28, 2007)



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EHRs in the foxhole


The U.S. military is processing approximately 21,000 medical
encounters per month from the battlefield using its version
of the electronic health record, Col. Claude Hines Jr. told
HIMSS07 attendees on Tuesday. Hines related that fact during
a presentation about the U.S. Army’s Theater Medical
Information Program, an automated patient record system
similar to EHRs. The program was developed to provide
automated support for theater medical practices.

(February 28, 2007)



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CCHIT leaders say credibility is important


The vision behind the certification of electronic health
record products is that it will help to advance the adoption
of healthcare IT by building confidence in the providers who
would purchase it. But according to Alisa Ray, executive
director of the Certification Commission for Health
Information Technology (CCHIT), the non-profit, independent
Commission also works hard to build vendor confidence in the
certification process.

(February 28, 2007)



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Simplify and focus, says Tennessee Governor Bredesen


Relying on his legacy of “getting things done” and “getting
the right things done,” Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen
challenged the healthcare information technology sector and
the healthcare industry overall to simplify the focus of
advancing e-health information exchange. The industry must
establish simple standards, reduce the scope of e-health
into a manageable project and find ways to get physician
practices to adopt e-health, he told his keynote-address
audience.

(February 28, 2007)



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ONC fields tough questions at Town Hall meeting


Leaders from the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC)
for Healthcare Information Technology faced some staunch
questioning on privacy and other issues related to
healthcare IT adoption in a Town Hall held Tuesday evening
at HIMSS07. Following a lengthy presentation on ONC
accomplishments, the floor opened to heated questions from
the large audience, including a request for a response on
the recent resignation of Paul Feldman, co-chair of the
federal advisory panel on privacy, the American Health
Information Community’s Confidentiality, Privacy, and
Security Workgroup.

(February 28, 2007)



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Dell plans big health care IT push


Dell plans to make a big push into the health care sector
and has hired James Coffin, former vice president of health
care and life sciences at IBM to lead the effort. Coffin,
interviewed here at the annual Healthcare Information and
Management Systems Society conference, said Dell intends to
provide full-scale solutions to the health care industry,
not just hardware as in the past. Coffin said the company
wants to provide a complete health information technology
ecosystem to the entire health care community, including
providers, payers and the pharmaceutical industry. Dell is a
technology partner in the National ePrescribing Patient
Safety Initiative, launched in January, which will provide
free e-prescription software to every doctor in the country.

(February 28, 2007)



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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT FROM HIMSS: Medical Device
Interoperability Necessary for Ideal ‘OR of the Future’


A team from the Massachusetts General Hospital’s "Operating
Room of the Future" is pushing for medical device
interoperability, as it displays a system that automatically
synchronizes the activity of an anesthesia ventilator with
an X-Ray machine at this year’s Health Information
Management Systems Society conference in New Orleans.

(February 28, 2007)



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Hospitals adopt new technology


A growing number of community hospitals are managing
patients’ records electronically in an effort to improve
care and save money, a trade group said Tuesday, though
rural facilities are lagging, in part because of high
up-front technology costs. With medical costs expected to
grow faster than the overall economy, public health
officials are promoting electronic record-keeping as a way
to speed up patient visits and decrease errors. President
Bush has set a goal of using electronic medical records for
all Americans by 2014. More than 45 percent of hospitals
surveyed by the American Hospital Association last year had
medium to high levels of health information technology use,
up from 37 percent in 2005, the group said Tuesday.

(February 27, 2007)



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HIMSS07: A Health IT Odyssey


On a spaceship-like set
with the theme to Star Trek humming in the background,
HIMSS07 on Monday opened its festivities with a cast of
unlikely characters — including a rapping Capt. Kirk
impersonator and a gospel choir — to look into the future
of health IT. Below, iHealthBeat navigates
crowded exhibit room floors and deciphers endless acronyms
to check out some of the highlights of HIMSS07.


(February 27, 2007)



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Physician-Dependent Future for EMRs


Physician IT leaders must have a plan to introduce clinical
decision support and engage clinicians throughout their
institutions if electronic medical records (EMRs) are to
fulfill the promise of higher-quality, more efficient care,
some of America’s top medical informaticists say.

(February 27, 2007)



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Trends in Medical PCs, PDAs, and Portable Workstations

Do
healthcare professionals in your
organization want laptop
computers? Tablet PCs? Plain old
desktop machines? Personal
digital assistants? Sure. All
can work just fine in clinical
environments. "We want to be as
device-independent as possible
to give physicians a range of
options," says Mary Kay Payne,
president and chief information
officer of


Hoag Memorial Hospital
Presbyterian
, a
511-bed, not-for-profit facility
in Newport Beach, Calif.



(February 27, 2007)



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Delta Health Alliance Selects Allscripts Electronic Health
Record for 500 Physicians


From the floor of the 2007 HIMSS Annual Conference and
Exhibition, Allscripts , the leading provider of clinical
software, connectivity and information solutions that
physicians use to improve healthcare, announced today that
Delta Health Alliance has selected the TouchWorks(TM)
Electronic Health Record (EHR) to automate, inform and
connect more than 500 physicians. The Mississippi Delta
region served by Delta Health was devastated by Hurricane
Katrina in 2005 and is among the poorest and most
disadvantaged areas in the nation. Delta Health, an alliance
of six state-funded universities and three primary
healthcare organizations including the University of
Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, will deploy the
Electronic Health Record to improve health outcomes for the
Delta’s patients and aid in the region’s recovery. The
implementation is being funded by a $25 million grant
awarded to Delta Health in the aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina by the federal Health Resources and Services
Administration (HRSA).

(February 27, 2007)



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Massachusetts Tops in Key Indicator for Patient Safety:
Ranked #1 State in the Nation for Electronic Prescribing


The community pharmacy industry today cited the commonwealth
of Massachusetts and three physicians for their outstanding
efforts to improve patient safety and practice efficiency
through the use of electronic prescribing technology.
Representatives from the nation’s community pharmacies
presented the Safe-Rx(TM) Award to Massachusetts for ranking
first in the nation for electronic prescribing.

(February 27, 2007)



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Consumers See Electronic Health Records as Important Factor
When Choosing a Physician and Are Willing to Pay for the
Service, Accenture Research Finds


The majority of consumers place some importance on whether a
physician has electronic health records when choosing a
physician and would be willing to pay for the service,
according to research results released today by Accenture
(NYSE: ACN).

(February
26, 2007)



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Report: Overcoming the Psychological Barriers to
Telemedicine


Psychological barriers may limit older Americans’ adoption
of telemedicine services but opportunities abound for
patient education.

(February
26, 2007)



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Health Level Seven Appoints Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD, to Role
of CEO


Health Level Seven (HL7) today announced the appointment of
Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD, FACMI, as CEO effective immediately.
In his new role, Dr. Jaffe will help to define and develop
the evolving organizational structure of HL7 to advance it
as the leading healthcare IT standards development
organization worldwide. He will drive the vision of global
healthcare information interoperability among the more than
two dozen countries that support HL7.





SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT: HIMSS Conference Matures With Health
IT Industry


The overall focus of the
annual Health Information Management Systems Society
conference remains the same each year, but the conference
matures along with the industry, HIMSS CEO Steve Lieber said
in an interview for an iHealthBeat special
audio report.


(February 26, 2007)



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Health IT in Flux as HIMSS07 Kicks Off


Right now, IT in the U.S. health care system is very much in
a state of regrouping and rebuilding. The Office of the
National Coordinator for Health IT has been without a
permanent leader since David Brailer resigned from the
position in May 2006. Two leaders of a subcommittee of the
American Health Information Community resigned last week
because of a lack of progress in developing privacy issues
related to electronic health data. Congress last session did
not pass any health IT legislation. So, it is fitting that
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society’s
annual conference and exhibition is taking place in New
Orleans, a city that knows a thing or two about rebuilding.

(February 26, 2007)



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HITS @ HIMSS: Good news for not-for-profits


The Internal Revenue Service may soon rule that
not-for-profit hospitals can subsidize the cost of
e-prescribing and electronic medical records systems for
their affiliated physicians without jeopardizing the
hospitals’ tax-exempt status, an HHS official told several
hundred physician informaticists Sunday during a
pre-conference session at the Healthcare Information and
Management Systems Society trade show in New Orleans. Back
in 2004, David Brailer, then the national coordinator for
health information technology at HHS, began calling for
Stark exemptions and anti-kickback safe harbors for
hospitals willing to extend IT systems and services to their
local physicians. Brailer saw it as a way to boost EMR
adoption by physicians in solo and small group practices
where EMR adoption has remained low because of their high
cost and technical challenges. Last August, HHS and the CMS
came through with rules granting relief from Stark and
anti-kickback laws for IT subsidies, but a number of
not-for-profit hospitals are still holding back over the IRS
issue.

(February 26, 2007)



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Wyoming Hospital Selects Medsphere OpenVista® Electronic
Health Record


Medsphere Systems Corporation, the leading provider of
professional open source-based electronic health record
(EHR) systems and services, today announced a five-year
agreement to deploy its OpenVista® EHR platform at Memorial
Hospital of Sweetwater County (MHSC) in Rock Springs,
Wyoming. The 99-bed not-for-profit facility is the third
community hospital to adopt OpenVista’s paperless system in
the last month.

(February 26, 2007)



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Psychiatric center reaps IT benefits


The University of Texas-Harris County Psychiatric Center, is
reaping the benefits and savings of automating its
medical records. The gains are coming after three years of
implementation and tweaking to get it to work just right.
Psychiatric facilities present a unique set of challenges
for turning paper-based records to digital ones, said
Richard Montanye, director of medical information systems at
the center. Now that the electronic health record system is
up and running, Montanye and his 14-member IT team are ready
to tackle other work: Improving registration with photo
capability, automating more forms on the Web and making it
possible to capture patient electronic signatures on consent
forms. They will also upgrade the electronic health record system – Eclipsys Sunrise – to include progress notes and
more alerts for clinicians.
The center also is streamlining IT desktop support by
centralizing all nursing unit computers in the server room
using blade technology.

(February 26, 2007)



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Venture capital event brings healthcare IT firms and
investors together


On the day prior to the official start of HIMSS 2007, a new
conference-related event brought together leaders of
emerging healthcare IT companies and venture capitalists
looking to invest in the industry. The HIMSS07 Health IT
Venture Fair was created to expose potential investors to
“young companies” seeking a $500,000 to $10 million
investment, said Elizabeth West, vice president of Business
Development and Marketing at HIMSS.

(February 26, 2007)



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HIMSS conference opens in New Orleans


Necessity is the mother of invention, Buddy Hickman,
chairman of the board of the Healthcare Information and
Management Systems Society, told attendees in his opening
remarks Monday morning. The group’s annual conference and
exhibition is under way here in the Big Easy. About 25,000
people are expected to attend the event. Hickman entreats
conference goers to take a good look at New Orleans and the
HIMSS07 Exhibition Hall. “The rebuilding of this great city
and the progress made by our HIT industry over the past
several years are proof positive that innovation happens in
response to critical challenges,” he said.

(February 26, 2007)



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State Official to CIOs: Get Involved


Health care information technology leaders should be paying
attention to the activities of state governments to
facilitate health data exchange and foster relationships
with government-appointed CIOs, according to the CIO of the
state of Michigan.
During the past two years, 24 states have passed a total of
36 bills related to health I.T., and 11 governors have
issued executive orders covering health I.T., said Teresa
Takai, director at the Michigan Department of Information
Technology. "Nearly every state has addressed health
information technology to some degree."

(February 25, 2007)



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Standard Charts EHR Functions


The American National Standards Institute has approved as a
new national standard functional requirements for an
electronic health record developed by Health Level Seven.
The EHR-S Functional Model from Ann Arbor, Mich.-based HL7
contains about 1,000 criteria covering more than 150
functions in such areas as medication history, problem
lists, orders, clinical decision support, and privacy and
security. The standard is a model providing guidance to
software developers and purchasers, says Donald Mon, vice
president of practice leadership at the American Health
Information Management Association in Chicago. He also
serves as Health Level Seven’s EHR Technical Committee
co-chair.

(February 22, 2007)



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Health Data Management’s CIO Survey Reveals Factors Driving
I.T. Spending


Health care CIOs and other senior executives plan to sink
more money into applications that improve access to
information for clinicians and help reduce medical errors,
according to the 2007 Health Data Management CIO Survey. Of
those respondents who expect their I.T. budgets to increase
in fiscal 2007, 51% said the primary factor for those budget
increases is to improve clinician access to information.
Another 27% cited reducing medical errors/improving quality
as the primary factor for spending hikes.

(February 22, 2007)



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Massachusetts RHIO Makes Progress


After four years and a
$50-million commitment, many of
the building blocks for
Massachusetts’ regional health
information organization (RHIO),
MA-SHARE (Simplifying Healthcare
Among Regional Entities), are
being stacked into place.


That’s good given this is a
critical year for


MA-SHARE
as grant
money starts running out. "If
RHIOs do not have a business
model by the end of 2007, they
will likely not survive until
2008," says John Halamka, CIO of
CareGroup Healthcare System and
CIO of the Harvard Medical
School.



(February 22, 2007)



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IBM, Duke launch all-in-one health portal


U.S. technology giant IBM and Duke University have created a
Web portal that will manage all doctor-patient
communication. Currently, doctors frequently use different
sites for different functions such as patient billing and
electronic health records. The new Web site will allow
patients to access data and services including personal
health profiles, clinical content, account billing and
insurance information. Patients will also be able to save
time by filling out forms online in advance of their office
visit.

(February 22, 2007)



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One by One, City Health Clinics Are Joining the Digital Age


Doctors at a Brooklyn health clinic will officially swap
paper files in favor of electronic health records today amid
a citywide effort to digitize community health centers. Of
the 29 participants in the Primary Care Information Project,
a multimillion-dollar Department of Health and Mental
Hygiene initiative that is bringing health information
technology to clinics in the city’s poorest communities, the
Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center is the sixth
community health center to switch over. City officials said
they hope to convert the other centers to electronic systems
by 2008, when computer terminals will be in each exam room.
Officials who support the initiative said it will improve
the quality and efficiency of doctor visits, and will prompt
clinicians with point-of-care reminders that can be
advantageous in treating chronically ill patients. In the
public health sphere, it will be possible to track epidemics
like diabetes and obesity with an emphasis on prevention.

(February 22, 2007)



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Will Canada click its way to better health? Switch to
e-records lags behind other countries


After more than 20 years as a family physician, Michelle
Greiver questions why Canadians can access their bank
accounts 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but when they go
to the hospital after hours, their medical records are
unavailable. She is among the minority of the nation’s
doctors who are trying to do something about the health care
system’s archaic processes, which by one estimate are
causing as many as 24,000 unnecessary deaths each year. Last
year, she began collecting and storing patient data on
computers. This year she sold her filing cabinets and
expects to discard the last paper chart in her Toronto
office.

(February 22, 2007)



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Federal privacy panel leader resigns, raps standards


The leader of a federal panel charged with providing privacy
recommendations for the national health information network
resigned Wednesday, thwarted, he said, in efforts to develop
adequate standards. The resignation comes amid complaints
from others about the speed with which standards are being
written. Paul Feldman, deputy director of the nonprofit
Health Privacy Project, stepped down from his position as
co-chair of the American Health Information Community’s
Confidentiality, Privacy, and Security Workgroup, created in
May 2006. In a letter sent Wednesday to 15 members of
Congress, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary
Michael Leavitt and HHS Interim National Coordinator for
Health Information Technology Robert Kolodner, Feldman said
the workgroup’s efforts to establish standards for the
nation’s developing healthcare IT network, are “a far cry
from a comprehensive and timely approach that would give
privacy policy equal and necessary footing with
interoperability and systems development efforts.”

(February 22, 2007)



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Physician-Based EMRs Improve Efficiency, Thus Boosting
Widespread Uptake


The healthcare market continues to witness the installation
of multiples technologies across various organizations, such
as (or ranging from) inpatient organizations to
outpatient ancillary centers. As part of this occurrence,
electronic medical record exists as a platform technology
for documenting and integrating full patient information. Physician-based practices of all sizes are rapidly adopting
EMR technology, as they seek the digital benefits of
discrete data and look to a possible cost savings.
Therefore,
as the integration of physician-based practices and
inpatient organizations continues to tighten, the physician-
based EMR market will continue to grow at a significant
pace.

(February 21, 2007)



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Israeli HMO to provide healthcare IT to Bulgarian national
healthcare system


Maccabi Healthcare Services, a leading Israeli HMO,
announced Tuesday that it has been selected to help build a
new national healthcare information technology system for
Bulgaria, expected to serve eight million people when fully
implemented. Maccabi won the opportunity to be a key player
in a consortium to build the €3.5 million Bulgarian
healthcare system over such well-known global IT firms as
HP, IBM and Oracle, said Wendy Simmons, Maccabi
spokesperson. The World Bank will fund the project, she
said. “We are a healthcare supplier, not a technology
company, which gives us profound insight into the needs of
HMOs,” said Ofer Carmel, CEO of Maccabi Group Holdings. “The
system we created is the healthcare delivery backbone for
almost two million people in Israel, whose healthcare
expenditure, according to the World Health Organization, is
only two-thirds as much per capita as countries like Sweden
and France, and one-third that of the United States. ”

(February 21, 2007)



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HL7 Announces Industry’s First Electronic Health Record
System (EHR-S) Functional Requirements Standard


Health Level Seven (HL7), a preeminent healthcare IT
standards development organization with broad international
representation, today announced it has passed the healthcare
industry’s first ANSI-approved standard that specifies the
functional requirements for an electronic health record
system (EHR-S).

(February 21, 2007)



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Survey: Patients Unsure About EHRs


Nearly half of patients are unsure how they feel about
electronic health records, according to a survey by Time
Warner Cable Business Class. Thirty-eight percent of those
surveyed said they thought EHRs were a great idea, while 17%
said they were a bad idea.

(February 20, 2007)



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MEDecision and Medem Collaborate to Deliver Robust
Electronic Health Record to Improve Patient Care


MEDecision, Inc., a provider of software, services and
clinical content to healthcare payers, and Medem, Inc., a
leading provider of online physician-patient communications
services, today announced a unique collaboration to combine
health plan information with the physician-patient
relationship to deliver a transportable personal health
record through a payer-provider partnership. Through this
collaboration, MEDecision will deliver its Patient Clinical
Summary, a payer-based, clinically-validated, electronic
health record, to patients and their providers through
iHealth, Medem’s secure, interactive and fully transportable
online personal health record.

(February 20, 2007)



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US Healthcare Quality Movement Stalls at a Critical
Juncture, Finds PricewaterhouseCoopers Report


In a study of more than 60 of the nation’s most influential
healthcare leaders released today, PricewaterhouseCoopers
found that the quality of the US healthcare system is not
what it should be and is not likely to change within the
next three to five years. A landmark report on healthcare
quality by the
PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute concludes
that after two decades of efforts to improve the quality of
healthcare, momentum has stalled at a critical juncture. The
analysis finds healthcare organizations
are confused by multiple quality mandates and frustrated by
mounting requirements for quality performance reporting in
the absence of government standards or industry consensus.
Citing its report, PricewaterhouseCoopers called on the healthcare industry to come together to develop common
standards and procedures around quality. It warned that
failure to act now puts the sustainability of the US healthcare system and the nation’s economic competitiveness
at risk.

(February 20, 2007)



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Medical mishaps


Conventional wisdom holds that electronic medical records
will reduce medical errors in the United States, but there’s
surprisingly little evidence to back that up.

(February 19, 2007)



<Back to top>





Quality comparisons


Few agree on how to measure health care performance. But
experts say any answer will depend on using electronic
health records to compare apples to apples.

(February 19, 2007)



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The diabetes data war


Public health care programs are using IT tools, from
population registries to remote monitoring systems, to get
to the high ground in the fight against diabetes.

(February
19, 2007)



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Editor’s note: Does health IT matter?


Is information technology essential to the goals of health
care service providers and policy-makers — improving the
quality and reducing the cost of health care? There are
several schools of thought on that. One is summarized by Dr.
John Halamka, Harvard Medical School’s chief information
officer, whom we interviewed in our cover story about
medical errors. He’s from what might be called the Intuitive
School. “How could it be bad to have an accurate
prescription of the right med to the right patient?” he told
Nancy Ferris, Government Health IT’s associate editor. “It
seems pretty obvious that you don’t need a controlled trial
on the efficacy of parachutes against gravity.”

(February
19, 2007)



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In pay for performance, all eyes are on California


A statewide project in California is now one of the largest
and most successful pay-for-performance programs in the
country. But if you had taken bets on that success a few
years ago, you wouldn’t have found many takers.

(February
19, 2007)



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Peel: Electronic prescribing is no panacea


When a coalition of technology companies, insurers and
health care providers launched a $100 million project last
month to provide free electronic prescribing software to
every physician in the United States, it was greeted with
cheers. The presence of brand name vendors was supposed to
ensure that sensitive prescription records would be private
and secure. But those who believe there is anything private
about e-prescribing under the National ePrescribing Patient
Safety Initiative (NEPSI) — or any other e-prescription
system — are simply incorrect.

(February
19, 2007)



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Survey: States lag behind private sector in EMR adoption


Public-sector health care organizations participate in
regional health information organizations (RHIOs) at twice
the rate of private-sector organizations, but lag
significantly when it comes to using electronic medical
records (EMRs), according to a recent survey from Citrix
Systems. The survey, which involved 99 state health care
executives and 347 private-sector health care information
technology executives, was designed to determine the levels
of current and planned EMR adoption and RHIO participation
by private and public-sector organizations.

(February 19, 2007)



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OMB: Health IT services are accountable


The Office of Management and Budget plans to evaluate the
four main agencies involved with health IT on how well they
provide information on quality and cost to consumers. In
addition to the increased accountability, government
agencies will have to add to their contracts with service
providers standards developed by the American Health
Information Community, a public-private advisory group led
by the Health and Human Services Department.


(February 19, 2007)



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Advantage: Dems – Health IT remains a bipartisan issue, but
with Democrats now in charge on Capitol Hill, the rush for
national health IT legislation is on


In the past year, lawmakers have struggled in their efforts
to pass health information technology legislation. The
Senate and House each passed a bill that they sent to
conference committee by early fall, but the prospects for
creating a framework for a National Health Information
Network died without ever being presented for a full vote in
either chamber.

(February 19, 2007)



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CMS announces plans to publicly report physician performance


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced plans
on Thursday for reporting physician performance to Medicare
beneficiaries. CMS intends to make the public reports by
combining Medicare data with data from private insurers. The
reports will be part of the CMS Better Quality Information
to Improve Care for Medicare Beneficiaries (BQI) Project,
designed to provide the public and providers with “reliable
and consistent measures of quality care,” CMS said.

(February 19, 2007)



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Patient Safety Through Technology

At
least 1.5 million preventable
drug-related injuries occurred in
2006 in American hospitals,
long-term care institutions and
outpatient clinics, according to the

Institute of Medicine
. And, the
institute said, 98,000 deaths
occurred both because of mistakes in
administering drugs and because of
infections contracted in hospitals.


Kerry Clark, 54, chief executive of

Cardinal Health
, a maker of
health care products with $81
billion in annual sales, said
hospitals should correct these
problems with the help of new
technologies. Mr. Clark, who arrived
at Cardinal in April 2006 after 32
years at

Procter & Gamble
, discussed both
drug mistakes and infections in a
recent conversation. Following are
excerpts …



(February 17, 2007)



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Perspective: Northrop Grumman’s service provider model for
NHIN


When Northrop Grumman was developing its prototype for a
nationwide health information exchange, its goal was to make
it easy for organizations and physicians to connect to
regional health information organizations or health
information exchanges. “We adopted a service provider model
with a flexible architecture to lower the bar for
organizations to join a network,” said Robert Cothren, PhD,
chief scientist for health solutions and project manager for
Northrop Grumman’s NHIN project. “We thought it was very
important to do this in our approach.” Every architectural
decision supported this approach.

(February 16, 2007)



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URAC calls for comments on changes to standards for clinical
and health information technology accreditation programs


Today URAC called for comments on minor revisions to its
accreditation standards for clinical and health information
technology programs. URAC is seeking input from any
interested parties, including health care management
organizations and health plans. The deadline for public
comment is March 19, 2007.

(February 16, 2007)



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Coleman proposes legislation aimed at helping rural health
care


Sen. Norm Coleman on Thursday proposed a package of bills
aimed at improving rural health care, such as increasing
money for critical access hospitals and mental health
services in rural areas. "The quality of your health care
should not be a reflection of your ZIP code, and my rural
health care agenda seeks to efficiently enhance the quality,
affordability, and accessibility of health care in rural
Minnesota," said Coleman, a Minnesota Republican.

(February 15, 2007)



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Clinton to reintroduce EMR legislation


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) this week pledged to
reintroduce legislation she previously sponsored to promote
the use of electronic medical records, but further details
were lacking about when this would happen, who possible
co-sponsors might be, or what will be done differently this
time to get the bill passed. Clinton and former Sen. Bill
Frist (R-Tenn.) sponsored the Health Technology to Enhance
Quality Act of 2005 with 15 co-sponsors. Despite a long list
of supporters that included the AFL-CIO, the American
College of Physicians, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Association, the Healthcare Information and Management
Systems Society and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the bill
did not make it out of committee.

(February 15, 2007)



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Brailer says IT could cut healthcare costs in half


Healthcare information
technology could help to reduce healthcare spending up to 50
percent, but not until a decade after widespread adoption,
said former U.S. national health IT coordinator David
Brailer in an interview announced Thursday in Health
Affairs
. In the Health Affairs interview, Brailer
said that even if President Bush’s goal of acquiring EHRs
for every American by 2014 were achieved, it would not
increase productivity in healthcare immediately. “We’ll have
a decade of HIT implementation before a decade of major
yield. It’s not until the second decade that users say, ‘Now
that we have the tools in place, let’s use them to redesign
our fundamental processes’.”


(February 15, 2007)



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Hospital EHR certification criteria open for public comment


Proposed certification criteria for hospital electronic
health record systems opened for public review Thursday. The
comment period extends through March 16. Materials are
posted on the Certification Commission for Healthcare
Information Technology Web site. Comments can be submitted
on the Web site.

(February 15, 2007)



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State Department to test DOD EHR system


The State and Defense departments plan a pilot project to
determine whether the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal
Technology Application (AHLTA) electronic health record
system can meet future State EHR requirements. Last month
DOD and the Department of Veterans Affairs agreed to work
together on the development of a common in-patient EHR. Last
year DOD and the Indian Health Service (IHS) said they
planned to adopt the VA’s Veterans Health Information
Systems and Technology Architecture Imaging system. The IHS’
outpatient EHR is also based on the VistA EHR.

(February 15, 2007)



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Kaiser EHR Project Hits Some Bumps


Kaiser Permanente’s $4 billion initiative to provide its 8.6
million members with electronic health records continues to
encounter technical problems that put patients in
potentially dangerous situations, according to Kaiser
documents and employees.

(February 15, 2007)



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The Big Bang


Technology may promise lowered costs, improved safety and
streamlined operations, but it usually comes wrapped in new
standardized workflows that upend well-worn clinician and
administrator routines. That’s why healthcare organizations
usually avoid moving too rapidly in implementing new
systems; the so-called “big bang” approach—converting
hundreds of users to new technology in one quick
turnover—can be a recipe for disaster.

(February 14, 2007)



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Survey: U.S. Residents Concerned About Privacy Risks of EHRs


Forty-two percent of U.S. adults said that the privacy risks
associated with electronic health records outweigh the
expected benefits, according to a survey by Harris
Interactive. Twenty-nine percent of adults said the expected
benefits of EHRs outweigh the potential risks, and another
29% said they were unsure. However, the survey also found
that 62% of adults have not read or heard about the federal
government’s plan to create a nationwide EHR system over the
next few years.

(February 14, 2007)



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Continuity of Care Document is approved by HL7, endorsed by
HITSP


The healthcare industry reached a milestone Monday in its
goal to exchange clinical records electronically. Health
Level Seven announced that the Continuity of Care Document
was approved by ballot and that it received the endorsement
of the Healthcare Information Technology Standards Panel.
HL7 said the final Continuity of Care Document (CCD) would
be published next month. It will describe how to implement
the Continuity of Care Record dataset with the standard
architecture for clinical records developed by HL7, an Ann
Arbor, Mich. -based standard setting body. Development of
the CCD represents the joint efforts of HL7 and the E31
Healthcare Informatics Committee of ASTM International,
which had led efforts to develop a standardized continuity
of care record.

(February 14, 2007)



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New York Businesses Commit to National Initiative for
Improving Quality and Value in Health Care


In a meeting today in New York City with HHS Secretary Mike
Leavitt, executives from New York businesses signed
statements of support for a national initiative aimed at
improving health care quality, information and
cost-effectiveness for employees and their families.
Employers signing on include Aetna, New York Life Insurance
Company, Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., The Depository Trust and
Clearing Corporation,  American International Group,
Inc., KeySpan, IPRO, STV Inc., Group Health Inc., CIGNA
Health Plan of New York, Verizon Communications, Inc.,
AmeriChoice of New York, New York Health Plan Association,
Siemens Corporation, New York Business Group on Health,
Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, Business Council of New
York State, Alcoa Inc., Loews Corporation,  Partnership
for New York City and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

(February 14, 2007)



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Yasnoff: Wisconsin should invest in health record bank


Dr. William Yasnoff agreed that $30 million is a relatively
small sum for state government to invest in the adoption of
electronic health records, but not too small to make some
headway on what he considers a better idea. Yasnoff, founder
of the eHealth Trust Initiative, continues to advocate that
states or regions create a central repository, or bank, for
all electronic health records. He views a bank, which would
be financed with small monthly fees charged to consumers, as
the best way to get healthcare organizations to share
information, get more doctors to invest in electronic health
records, and get around interoperability issues.

(February 14, 2007)



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Physicians find cost a barrier to digitizing records


Sooner rather than later, doctors will have to switch
completely from paperwork to computers if they want to treat
patients and make a living in the 21st century. "To do
business with the federal government in the future,
everything will have to be electronic," Michael O. Leavitt,
the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, told
members of the Medical Society of New Jersey. Electronic
medical records and digital drug prescriptions will
eventually be a must for all physicians, Leavitt said during
a stop-off in Lawrenceville late last year.

(February 14, 2007)



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EHR Data Could Enhance Post-Market Drug Surveillance


Electronic health records could improve post-market drug
safety surveillance by automatically extracting data on
adverse reactions and side effects of drugs on the market,
according to some experts.

(February 13, 2007)



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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT: California Dedicates State Office to
Health IT


California is "significantly
farther ahead" than other states in addressing health care
information technology, Ann Boynton, undersecretary of the
California Health and Human Services Agency, said in an
interview for an iHealthBeat special audio
report.


(February 13, 2007)



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Senators question HHS chief about health IT issues


The head of the Health and Human Services Department was
grilled Tuesday about the swelling medical costs to
citizens. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., a proponent of
health information technology, pressed HHS Secretary Michael
Leavitt for explanations on health IT spending in the
president’s fiscal 2008 budget request during Leavitt’s
appearance before the Senate Budget Committee. Whitehouse
argued that the proposed $118 million for the office of the
national health IT coordinator is too small of an investment
to significantly cut the cost of treatment, preventive care
and prescriptions. He also noted that David Brailer left the
job as health IT coordinator months ago and has not been
replaced.

(February 13, 2007)



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NYC mayor sees health IT as key to better health care


New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has called for
restructuring the way health care is paid for in the United
States and using health IT as the foundation of a better
health care system. “Five years from today, every doctor’s
office, clinic and hospital in America that accepts Medicaid
and Medicare must be using prevention-oriented electronic
health records,” Bloomberg said in a major address this week
in Washington, D.C. EHRs are the key to having a health care
system that works better and holds costs down, the mayor
said. He said the current system places too much emphasis on
curing the sick and gives too little emphasis to preventive
care.

(February 13, 2007)



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Canadian e-health sector could use a booster shot


There’s a host of opportunities for Canadian companies
looking to serve the burgeoning electronic health record
market, but insiders say serving the market is not going to
be easy. A number of hospitals have already set up
electronic record systems with patient information, and a
national agency, Canada Health Infoway, has a mandate to
create a unified e-health record by 2009. Despite this
momentum, as well as the handful of programs to help fund
the automation of doctors’ offices in Canada, however,
resistance to the idea still runs high.

(February 13, 2007)



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Medical chart might follow you to hospitals


Ideally, patients could go to any central Ohio hospital and,
with a few taps on a keyboard, staff members could read
their medical histories. Doctors and nurses could quickly
find past surgeries, medications, recent X-rays, tests and
any drug allergies the patients suffer — records kept in
doctors’ offices, clinics and other hospitals. Having this
information allows medical staff members to make better
decisions about care and be more efficient by not repeating
expensive tests. Systems that allow this access are called
"regional health information organizations," and they are
popping up nationwide. Officials from central Ohio’s four
hospital systems are discussing how to create one here.

(February 12, 2007)



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Health System Starts Linking Patient Data


Baylor Health Care System has completed the initial phase of
an effort to link fragmented data from its disparate systems
to establish a 360-degree view of its patients. The Baylor
project, started about a year and a half ago, is aimed at
creating an enterprise view of data for patients treated at
the Dallas-based health care provider’s 12 hospitals, said
Scott Schoenvogel, assistant vice president of the revenue
cycle. Baylor expects that the system will eventually be
used as the foundation of a patient’s comprehensive
electronic medical record.

(February 12, 2007)



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Clinical IT Solutions


Do healthcare professionals in your organization want laptop
computers? Tablet PCs? Plain old desktop machines? Personal
digital assistants? Sure. All can work just fine in clinical
environments. "We want to be as device-independent as
possible to give physicians a range of options," says Mary
Kay Payne, president and chief information officer of Hoag
Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, a 511-bed, not-for-profit
facility in Newport Beach, Calif.

(February 12, 2007)



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Health Care’s IT Revolution


In 2004, President Bush called for all Americans to have
electronic health records (EHRs) by 2014. Since then, he has
emphasized health-care information technology in some
high-profile speeches, including the 2007 State of the Union
address, as critical to making the U.S. health-care system
more efficient, affordable, and safe. Other politicians and
health care policy experts are also urging faster adoption
of health-care IT, including EHRs. EHRs are electronic
accounts of individuals’ health history and treatments,
which can be transmitted digitally among doctors, patients,
and facilities. While not a new concept, EHRs are at the
core of a growing push to adopt a national strategy for
implementing health-care IT. The urgency is escalating as an
aging population threatens to overburden the enormous U.S.
health care budget.

(February 12, 2007)



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Henry Ford Health System Selects ROI Online from Medical
Records Online


Medical Records Online (MRO), the market leader of in-house,
Release of Information (ROI) solutions for healthcare
providers, announced an agreement to provide ROI processing
services to Henry Ford Health System. Under this agreement,
the Detroit-based health system will incorporate MRO’s ROI
technology with its existing electronic medical record
system. The new workflow enables the organization to bring
its ROI process in-house and partner with MRO to provide the
back-office fulfillment functions.

(February 12, 2007)



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Health IT Will Drive Productivity, Save Money, Business
Roundtable President Says


John Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable, in a
discussion on PBS’ "NewsHour With Jim Lehrer," said that
"the medical delivery system is the only part of our economy
that hasn’t benefited from the productivity improvements of
information technology."

(February 9, 2007)



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Quality Work Group Readies IT Recommendations for HHS


An American Health Information Community quality work
group is preparing to release recommendations to HHS and
AHIC on how certified health IT should support the capture,
compilation and reporting of data for a core set of
ambulatory and inpatient quality measures.

(February 9, 2007)



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Perspective: On the heels of a successfully demonstrated
NHIN prototype


An IBM-led consortium successfully demonstrated the exchange
of healthcare information at the Third Nationwide Health
Information Network Forum held Jan. 25-26, in Washington,
D.C. Accenture, Northrop Grumman, and Computer Sciences
Corp. led the other consortia in delivering a health
information exchange (HIE) prototype. As the four consortia
illustrated, there are multiple ways to implement an HIE
architecture.

(February 9, 2007)



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I.T. Tracks Pay for Performance


Patient care at 260 hospitals participating in a
pay-for-performance project is improving and those
facilities are receiving additional compensation as a
result, according to survey results from the Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS announced that it would
award incentive payments of $8.7 million to 115 of the
top-performing hospitals.

(February 9, 2007)



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Survey: Half of European Physicians Prefer Online Rx Info


Half of European physicians would prefer to receive drug
information online, according to a survey by Manhattan
Research. The survey found that 57% of physicians place
primary importance on drug representatives as the major
information source.

(February 9, 2007)



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Canadian City Launches First-of-its-Kind Health IT System


Calgary Health Region officials on Thursday announced that
they have electronically connected patient information
between the city’s three major hospitals.

(February 8, 2007)



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Wyoming Hospital Aims for Seamless Care With Technology
Transition


Ivinson Memorial Hospital in Laramie, Wyo., is transitioning
to an electronic health record system that will allow remote
and seamless access to patient data for hospital staff and
physicians.

(February 8, 2007)



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The Benefits of Electronic Medical Records Sound Good, but
Privacy Could Become a Difficult Issue


The potential benefits of electronic medical records (EMRs)
sounds appealing to most people, but when the issue of
privacy is raised, many people become concerned about the
potential for privacy abuses in EMR systems. However, most
have read or heard nothing about EMRs, so public opinion is
waiting to be formed. These are some of the findings of
three different surveys, each of which contained some
relevant questions on EMRs, which were conducted by Harris
Interactive(R) in 2006 and 2005.

(February 8, 2007)



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Group Practice Automates Exam Rooms


HealthCare Partners Medical Group in Los Angeles has
implemented hundreds of wall-mounted computer systems in
examination rooms at 39 clinics. The group practice is using
technology from EnovateIT LLC, Troy, Mich.

(February 8, 2007)



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Henry Schein Gets Superior Contract


Superior Medical Care Inc., a 19-clinican, four location
group practice, will implement electronic medical records
software from Henry Schein Medical Systems, Melville, N.Y.

(February 8, 2007)



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EMR Runs on Tablet PCs


Anesthesiology group practice Pinnacle Partners in Medicine
will implement an electronic medical records system running
on wireless Tablet PCs. The Dallas-based vendor has
contracted for the Catalis Accelerator software of Catalis
Inc., Austin, Texas. Contract terms were not disclosed. The
practice includes more than 200 anesthesiologists and 140
nurse anesthetists working at more than 80 facilities.

(February 8, 2007)



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MMPC puts $35M toward electronic medical records


In committing to spend $35 million in the coming years to
fully implement electronic medical records, Michigan Medical
PC aims to make patient data readily accessible when needed.
The new system MMPC is buying from Madison, Wisc.-based Epic
Systems Inc. will significantly elevate the medical group’s
use of electronic medical records. It’s the kind of major
investment that MMPC and other health care providers, even
after years of integrating information technology into their
operations, are increasingly making to improve the
management and flow of patient medical data as well as
quality, safety and operating efficiency.

(February 8, 2007)



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Institute for Healthcare Improvement CEO Touts Benefits of
IT


Dr. Donald Berwick, president and CEO of the Institute
for Healthcare Improvement, in an "Eye to Eye" segment on
the CBS’ "Evening News" Web site said hospitals are "19th
century animals in the 21st century." He added that
physicians and nurses work hard to provide quality care but
that the "systems aren’t there to support them."

(February 7, 2007)



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Retail-Based Clinics: Passing Fad or Here to Stay?


Retail-based clinics have been heralded by some as a
must-have strategy to address the new healthcare consumerism
movement, which demands fast and convenient service for
minor medical care. Others wonder if this will be a passing
fad like the urgent care centers of the 1980s and the
primary care offices in shopping malls of the 1990s.

(February 7, 2007)



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Michigan physicians test benefits of Web-based visits


Seeking efficiency, cost-effectiveness and improved
communication with patients, physicians in a Michigan health
system have been testing a Web portal for virtual office
visits. Henry Ford Health System, currently in the pilot
phase of its use of MEDSEEK’s eVisit tool, has launched the
tool in the Henry Ford Medical Group practices in
Harbortown, Novi, Southland, Lakeside and Troy.

(February 7, 2007)



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McKesson: Wiring the medical world


Fortune’s Geoff Colvin sits down with the CEO and CIO of the
health-care giant, who explain how information technology is
finally ready to revolutionize the way we manage medicine.

(February 7, 2007)



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Only one-third of healthcare execs ready for P4P reporting


Results of a survey released Monday reveal that though most
healthcare organizations are aware of the need to collect
quality and performance measures, only 30 percent are ready
for pay for performance reporting.

(February 7, 2007)



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Iowa Health Adopts Decision Support


Iowa Health System will implement clinical decision support
software in its 22 hospitals. The delivery system will use
the ZynxOrder software of Zynx Health, integrated with
information systems from GE Healthcare.

(February 7, 2007)



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McKesson Closes $15 Million Deal


Baton Rouge (La.) General Medical Center will implement a
range of software from San Francisco-based McKesson Corp.
under a $15 million contract. The 448-bed community hospital
will use the vendor’s Medication Safety Advantage bedside
bar coding software, Meds Manager pharmacy information
system, ROBOT-Rx dispensing system and Expert Orders
decision support module. The hospital also will become
McKesson’s largest user of its Care-Point mobile nursing
cart, which holds a wireless PC, supplies, and medications
and bar code scanner.

(February 7, 2007)



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A growing divide in healthcare IT


Electronic medical
records and other IT upgrades are seen as a “silver bullet”
in the health industry’s struggle against rising costs and
quality problems, but high startup expenses are creating a
growing divide between big industry players and small
practices, said the keynote speaker of a healthcare IT
conference hosted by the

Massachusetts Health Data Consortium
last week. Fewer
than one in four doctors nationwide have begun using
electronic health records (EHR), and most who are using
electronic records have done only a partial implementation,
said John Glaser, vice president and CIO of the
Massachusetts hospital chain

Partners HealthCare System
.


(February 6, 2007)



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2008 budget would give booster shot to health IT


The Bush administration’s budget calls for nearly doubling
the budget of the Office of the National Coordinator for
Health Information Technology and increasing health
IT-related funding at the Agency for Healthcare Research and
Quality (AHRQ). ONCHIT’s budget would grow from $61 million
this year to $118 million in fiscal 2008, according to
budget documents released by the Department of Health and
Human Services.

(February 6, 2007)



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Bush FY08 budget proposes $118 million to advance healthcare
IT


President Bush yesterday requested that Congress approve
$118 million for the Department of Health and Human
Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health
Information Technology (ONC). The request came as part of
the president’s $2.9 trillion fiscal year 2008 budget
proposal, which calls for $700 billion for HHS and plans to
balance the federal budget by 2012.

(February 6, 2007)



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Innovative technology will help improve health care for
Toronto’s homeless


Health professionals serving the homeless community in
Toronto will be enabled to provide better health care thanks
to innovative technology which gives them accurate,
up-to-date information on their patients. An approximately
$900,000 investment from Canada Health Infoway will make it
possible to electronically link three care settings at the
Sherbourne Health Centre: the Health Centre itself – a
downtown Toronto clinic; the Health Centre’s two mobile
health buses that provide outreach medical services mostly
to the homeless; and a 20-bed infirmary for people released
from acute care who may not have adequate accommodations for
a proper recovery (to be opened in early 2007). Through this
investment, Sherbourne’s existing Electronic Medical Records
(EMR) system will be made available within the mobile health
buses to allow nurses and caseworkers on the buses to use a
notebook computer and wireless connections linked to the
Health Centre’s main server to create, update and access
patient records.

(February 6, 2007)



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Few doctors are Web M.D.s


In a world where most people routinely e-mail friends,
family and colleagues, and many exchange e-mail with
teachers, newspaper columnists and even the pizza delivery
guy, it’s a weird fact: Most of us still don’t have e-mail
relationships with our doctors. For a decade, experts in
medicine and technology have been saying that patient/doctor
e-mailing was an obvious trend just waiting to explode. But
studies show a very slow adoption of the practice: Just 8%
of adults said they had received e-mail from their doctors
in an online survey in 2005 by Harris Interactive for The
Wall Street Journal Online.


(February 6, 2007)



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HIMSS Submits Comments to HHS RFI on Accelerating Health
Care through HIT


HIMSS submitted

comments
regarding the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services Request for Information “Improving Health
and Accelerating Personalized Health Care Through Health
Information Technology and Genomic Information in
Population- and Community-based Health Care Delivery Systems

posted in the Federal Register on November 1, 2006 [FR Doc.
Vol 71, No. 211, pages 64282-64284]).


(February 6, 2007)



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The Magic Ingredient for E-Prescribing?


With its announcement that all U.S. physicians can access
electronic prescribing technology for free, the National
E-Prescribing Patient Safety Initiative has entered an
ever-growing roster of e-prescribing projects. The pace of
change in this space is gaining speed, though this
initiative is particularly remarkable both for its list of
health IT rock star sponsors and its $100 million price tag.
Will this huge effort move the market that’s been stuck at
around 10% of prescribers on a slow-growth adoption curve?

(February 6, 2007)



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U.S. EHR market to approach $5 billion by 2015


The market for electronic health records in the United
States is poised to grow at a rate of 13.5 percent over the
next four years, and by 2015 it will top $4.85 billion,
according to a new study from Kalorama Information. “The
best type of market is one with a guaranteed pool of new
customers, and that describes the EMR market in the U.S. ”
said Bruce Carlson, associate publisher at Kalorama
Information. “Budgeted IT spending by healthcare
organizations in 2007 and 2008 will create a robust
marketplace for both existing players in EMR and new
entrants.”

(February 5, 2007)



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McKesson: Wiring the medical world


Fortune’s Geoff Colvin sits down with the CEO and CIO of the
health-care giant, and explain how information technology is
finally ready to revolutionize the way we manage medicine.

(February 5, 2007)



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Grant to boost Medicaid information system


Kentucky will get nearly $5 million in federal money to help
develop an electronic health network for people in the
Medicaid system, the government health plan for those who
are disabled or have low –incomes. State officials today
announced Kentucky has been awarded a $4.9 million grant
from the U.S. Department for Health and Human Services to
help create the electronic or “E-Health” system for
Medicaid.

(February 5, 2007)



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AAFP: Retail Clinics Need EMRs


Retail clinics popping up in drug and grocery stores, malls,
and elsewhere should have an electronic medical records
system that can gather and communicate patient information
with a family physician’s office, according to the American
Academy of Family Physicians. Ideally, the EMR would be
compatible with the Continuity of Care Record standard for
exchanging basic patient information.

(February 5, 2007)



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IT security crucial to site selection for healthcare
services industry


Data security has
emerged as a critical factor in the site selection process
for information technology facilities in the healthcare
industry, according to a recent report by an independent
corporate location consultant. “Information security is the
growth avenue of the corporate site selection field,
particularly in the healthcare sector,” said John H. Boyd,
president of The Boyd Company, the consulting firm in
Princeton, N.J. , that produced the report, entitled
Healthcare Services Industry: A Comparative Cost Analysis
for Information Assurance Operations
.


(February 2, 2007)



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Consumers critical to success of 2007 healthcare IT
legislation


It seems a common theme in legislative activity surrounding
healthcare information technology this year is the role of
the consumer. If consumers buy into healthcare IT, there
might be some hope of getting it off the ground, experts
say. Michael Zamore, policy advisor for Rep. Patrick Kennedy
(D – RI), said Kennedy plans to introduce by March a
“slightly tweaked” version of H.R. 6289, the Personalized
Health Information Act, introduced last year. According to
Zamore, this bill focuses on providing incentives for
building consumer interest and demand for PHRs as a
launching point for overall interest in healthcare IT.

(February 2, 2007)



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GAO says HHS lacks strategy for ensuring HIT privacy


The Government Accountability Office warned in a report
released Thursday that the Department of Health and Human
Services may need a better plan to integrate its efforts to
protect patient privacy when it comes to electronic health
records. In the report, titled “2007 Health Information
Technology: Early efforts initiated but comprehensive
privacy approach needed for national strategy,” GAO
acknowledged federal efforts to explore privacy issues, such
as through the American Health Information Community, but
said these efforts have yet to be coordinated under a
definitive plan.

(February 2, 2007)



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Health Plans Join To Move Doctors To E-Prescriptions


Five of Florida’s largest health plans have launched a joint
effort to move the state’s doctors from paper to electronic
prescriptions. They say e-prescribing will reduce the risk
of medication errors caused by undecipherable scribbling and
will raise a red flag when a prescribed medicine would be
harmful to the patient who has allergies or is taking
conflicting medicine. It also will reduce costs for
pharmacists, the plans say, because they waste a lot of time
calling clinics to double-check written prescriptions.
Physicians save time, too, they say, once they become
proficient with the new technology.

(February 2, 2007)



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AvMed to offer PHRs in Florida


An electronic personal health record system aimed at helping
patients better manage their healthcare needs will be
unveiled in the spring to all AvMed Health Plans’ members
throughout Florida. AvMed will offer the personal health
record system, known as iHealth, to members this spring.


(February 1, 2007)



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Making molehills out of mountains


Regional health information organization that are fighting
an uphill battle in their formation might do well to look
toward the Appalachian Mountains for guidance. While
concerns over funding, leadership, standardization and data
sharing are tough obstacles for many RHIOs, participants
from Pennsylvania’s Allegheny country to Tennessee’s Great
Smoky Mountains and North and South Carolina’s Blue Ridge
range all report having scaled the steepest part of the
organizational process, though they have taken different
trails to climb there. Specifics aside, frustrated
coordinators should first consider the underlying principles
that support a RHIO’s existence, said Robert “Rim” Cothren,
Ph. D. , chief scientist for Northrop Grumman. The Los
Angeles-based aerospace and information technology
corporation has been integral in developing electronic
health records for the U.S. Department of Defense as well as
offering architecture prototypes for the Nationwide Health
Information Network. “There isn’t a formula for organizing
RHIOs at this point, but what gets overlooked is really
understanding the long-term business model,” Cothren said.
“A lot of failed projects will get money to build it, but
then don’t have a sustainable business model in place. RHIOs
aren’t just an academic exercise in information exchange –
it is a business. Grant money is good for exploration, but
without a good business model, it will live only until the
grant money is gone.”


(February 1, 2007)



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Independence expands e-prescribing initiative


Independence Blue Cross has decided to expand its
e-prescribing pilot project, adding another 350 physicians
to the year-old program. “Since our e-prescribing pilot
program, we have seen improvement in generic and formulary
prescribing by the participating pioneer physicians,” said
Dr. Steven Udvarhelyi, chief medical officer for
Independence Blue Cross. IBC is the leading health insurer
in Philadelphia, covering more than 2.6 million lives in the
region and 3.4 million nationwide. According to Udvarhelyi,
some 265 physicians have begun writing prescriptions
electronically since the insurer instituted the pilot
program. IBC chose Zix Corp. ’s Pocket-Script platform for
the pilot project. The project enables participating IBC
physicians, through a wireless handheld PDA, to write
prescriptions and then send them immediately and
electronically.

(February 1, 2007)



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Horizon sets sights on ‘whole view’ of patients


Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey members have a
new program to manage certain chronic medical conditions
through a partnership between the health plan and Health
Integrated. The personal health management program
recognizes both behavior issues and emotional health, and
integrates these areas with patients’ medical conditions to
improve their quality of life.


(February 1, 2007)



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Researcher urges hospitals to couple IT with culture change


Information technology could prevent many medical errors
that occur in hospitals today, says Linda H. Aiken, but
without an accompanying change in staffing, training and
culture changes, the promise of IT will not be fully
realized. Aiken, a nurse with a Doctorate’s degree, is a
professor of nursing and sociology and the director of the
Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the
University of Pennsylvania. “Introducing an expensive and
sophisticated IT system into a poor care environment with
inadequate nurse staffing will undermine the potential of
information technology for quality improvement,” Aiken said
in a Webcast last month presented by Siemens Medical
Solutions.

(February 1, 2007)



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Davies Award winner is ‘industry model’


When Daniel Griffin, MD, established his internal medicine
practice in Fort Collins, Colo. , in 1999, he believed that
electronic health records were the key to quality and
efficiency in medical practice. Now, almost eight years
later, Griffin’s practice – Alpenglow Medical – has been
recognized for that early commitment with a 2006 Davies
Award in the ambulatory care category from the Healthcare
Information and Management Systems Society. Griffin will
receive his award on Feb. 27 at the HIMSS07 Annual
Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans. “I think it’s nice
that there is a program like the Davies Awards that
encourages the adoption of EHRs,” said Griffin. “This kind
of public recognition will promote information technology in
the physician’s office and help to improve the quality of
care.”

(February 1, 2007)



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Indiana University gives med students jump on mobile
technology


Indiana University is bringing the “real world” into its
medical classrooms through a new program that promotes the
use of personal digital assistants for care-giving
procedures. By taking advantage of discount pricing from the
Vernon Hills, Ill.-based Computer Discount Warehouse, the
Indiana University School of Medicine is enabling students
to obtain and use mobile electronic tools that are
increasingly becoming standard procedure in the healthcare
profession. Indiana’s PDA program initially got a boost in
2003 from a new accreditation standard called ED2, which
requires third year medical students to methodically track
their clinical experiences, said Amy Hatfield, digital
initiative librarian.

“During their rotation, students have to capture the types
of patients seen, diagnoses, clinical procedures observed
and all the different aspects of their clinical
experiences,” she said. “It is a very difficult process to
capture all this data using paper logs.”

(February 1, 2007)



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Calif. area begins RHIO work


East Kern County
Integrated Technology Association, which calls itself
EKCITA, announced earlier this month that it would move
ahead with building a regional health information exchange.
EKCITA is a public-private partnership formed by the
Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District, two rural health
clinics and 14 private medical practices.

The exchange is a federally
funded project. EKCITA officials said they had selected
Mendocino Informatics to help build the exchange. The goal
of the EKCITA community-wide electronic medical records
system is to improve quality of patient care and chronic
disease management in the rural region of East Kern County.


(February 1, 2007)



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Hope Rides EHR Wave


It’s not often the words
“information technology” and “hope” are uttered in the same
breath. But “hope” is the word Frank G. Opelka, MD, summons
to describe the rollout of electronic health record
technology under way in New Orleans.



(February 1, 2007)



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IT muscle at work in Harlem, Bronx


When Generations+ CIO
Maricar Barrameda heads home after a long shift these days,
it is with a sense of a job well done. Gone for the most
part is the feeling of her “stomach bursting” – that
ever-present tension over what could go wrong.
Barrameda is part of the leadership, along with the
clinicians and staff at Generations+, who are determined to
excel at patient care, and information technology is
integral to that effort. “Our goal is to be rated as the
best,” she said. “We have reached that goal.” A team from
Generations+ is ready to pick up a Davies Award of
Excellence from the Healthcare Information and Management
Systems Society on Feb. 27 in New Orleans.


(February 1, 2007)



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Wisconsin docs to get EHR grants


Gov. Jim Doyle will ask the Wisconsin state legislature to
approve a $30 million program to encourage health care
providers to install electronic health records systems.
Doyle proposed a $20 million grant program to help nonprofit
organizations transition from paper records to EHRs, which
he said would reduce medical errors and improve quality.
For-profit hospitals and physicians would be eligible for an
additional $10 million in tax credits to help cover their
costs. Doyle said the program is part of a five-year
strategy to make Wisconsin the first state where patients’
medical histories are readily available at all hospitals and
physician’s offices. He said a fully automated system would
increase efficiency and allow physicians to make more
informed decisions about treatment.

(February 1, 2007)



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Healthcare IT key to docs’ reform tenets


Ten U.S. physician associations have joined together to
release a list of principles intended to guide reform of the
U.S. healthcare system. The physician groups say that they
hope to provide guidance to national and state officials as
healthcare reforms gather steam across the country. “The
American people want the new Congress to be a
healthcare-focused Congress,” said Douglas Henley, MD,
executive vice president of the American Academy of Family
Physicians. “We hope that these principles help to push
lawmakers in the direction of reform.” One of the 11 reform
principles calls, in part, for sufficient funds to support a
“comprehensive health information technology infrastructure
and implementation.” Henley said that although the physician
groups did not include concrete proposals in the list of
principles, widespread adoption of healthcare IT is critical
to the reform of the U.S. healthcare system and must be
addressed.

(February 1, 2007)



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AAFP pilot shows e-visits gain favor with patients


Family physicians taking part in an e-visit demonstration
program say they are seeing e-visits gaining favor with
their patients. These are the first indications, and they
are anecdotal, said James Martin, MD, board chairman for
TransforMED, the umbrella program that includes the e-visit
component. Martin, a family physician in San Antonio, said
he had observed a growing interest in online visits in his
own practice. The American Academy of Family Physicians’
e-visit pilot program that enables doctors to confer with
their patients online has been under way in 36 practices for
eight months. Physicians who are noticing its increasing
popularity with their patients say it is mainly due to the
convenience it offers. Though e-visits are not a big part of
Family Practice Partners in Murfreesboro, Tenn. , Susan
Andrews, MD, said she expects “continued growth” and has
noticed that more patients have started to use it since the
practice dropped the price of the consultation from $30 a
visit to $25 a visit.

(February 1, 2007)



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Tennessee Network Shares Patient Data via PHRs


Information exchanges and personal health records are two
recent health care I.T. developments that are generating a
lot of buzz. In the state of Tennessee, a state-based payer
is combining those technologies and offering them statewide
to clinicians and residents. Chattanooga, Tenn.-based Shared
Health recently hit a significant milestone when the
public/private health information exchange announced it had
a total of 2 million state residents enrolled in the
initiative. The exchange is the brainchild of Blue Cross
Blue Shield of Tennessee, which developed a clinical health
record-similar to a personal health record-and deployed the
exchange via a Web portal.

(February 1, 2007)



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Payers Get Personal With Online Records


Many of the nation’s biggest managed care companies,
including United-Health Group, Wellpoint Inc. and large Blue
Cross/Blue Shield plans, are pushing their members to use
personal health records. Aetna Inc. has taken the extra step
of purchasing a company that offers PHRs to its members and
others. Meanwhile, some of the nation’s largest self-insured
employers, including Wal-Mart, Intel Corp., Pitney Bowes and
BP America are pushing PHRs too. Why are these major players
taking this step? Because they believe that giving consumers
access to more information about their health care will help
them stay healthier, ultimately reducing costs.

(February 1, 2007)



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Hospitals Giving the Gift of Technology


There’s usually a huge disparity between the use of I.T. in
hospitals and physician practices. But the Bush
administration is betting that recent revisions to federal
law will help change that. Last August, the Department of
Health and Human Services published two final rules designed
to ease restrictions on hospitals and other entities
donating information technology to physicians and group
practices. Hospitals and other organizations have long been
loath to make I.T. donations, fearing such activity would
violate federal anti-kickback statutes and the Stark Act
governing physician referrals. The final rules published in
August made specific and conditional exceptions to those
laws to permit I.T. donations, while continuing to restrict
the referring of patients to facilities in which the
referring physician has a financial interest.

(February 1, 2007)



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UMass Adopts Ambulatory EMRs


UMass Memorial Healthcare will implement electronic medical
records software for 800 employed physicians. The Worcester,
Mass.-based delivery system also plans to offer the software
to another 200 independent physicians who have privileges at
its hospitals. The delivery system will use the TouchWorks
software of Chicago-based Allscripts Inc.

(February 1, 2007)



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New York Hospitals To Boost Health IT Investment


Health Quest, the not-for-profit parent corporation for
three New York hospitals, will receive a $5 million grant
from the Dyson Foundation to expand and upgrade the IT at
all three facilities.

(February 1, 2007)



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Intel Developing Health IT Tools To Help the Elderly Remain
Independent


Intel and the Industrial Development Agency of Ireland
are collaborating to develop devices to help elderly people
remain independent.

(February 1, 2007)



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Economists Question Savings From Health IT


The widespread adoption of electronic prescriptions and
electronic health records may actually increase costs for
health providers, according to economists Robert Reischauer,
president of the Urban Institute, and Eugene Steuerle, a
senior fellow from the institute.

(February 1, 2007)



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Grant promotes use of electronic records


The state Department of Human Services has received a $3.18
million federal grant to develop an electronic health-care
records system for rural clinics across the state. The
two-year grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human
Services will be used to train community health clinics and
independent doctors on how to use electronic health records,
DHS announced Thursday. The grant specifically targets
clinics that serve Native Hawaiians and those on Medicaid.

(February 1, 2007)



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Perspective: On the heels of a successfully demonstrated
NHIN prototype


An

IBM
-led consortium successfully

demonstrated
the exchange of healthcare information at
the Third Nationwide Health Information Network Forum held
Jan. 25-26, in Washington, D.C. Accenture, Northrop Grumman,
and Computer Sciences Corp. led the other consortia in
delivering a health information exchange (HIE) prototype.


(February 1, 2007)



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Virginia RHIO Taking Baby Steps


William Moore, M.D., doesn’t consider himself a techie.
"I’ve dabbled with computers here and there, mostly while in
hospitals to assist in making rounds," he says. But the
54-year-old family practice physician now is wired up
through a subscription to MedVirginia, a regional health
information organization based in Richmond. The network
enables doctors to use a Web portal to check laboratory
results, transmit referrals and share patient histories for
free. For additional fees, practices can have the network
integrated with their practice management systems. They also
can pay to use online electronic prescribing software and an
electronic charting application. "This system is 90% of an
EMR to me," says Moore, a partner in Chickahominy Family
Practice, a five-doctor group in Richmond. "It has great
potential and I’m really excited about it."

(February 1, 2007)



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EHRs a costly choice for CHCs


Community health centers can
gain significant quality benefits from the use of electronic
health records, but these benefits do not cover the costs of
going paperless, reports a study in the January/February
issue of Health Affairs.



(February 1, 2007)



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Health information technology improves patient care


Dr. Eugene Turner has his patients’ information in the palm
of his hands. Literally. Everyday, after he wakes up, he
turns on his Palm Treo cell phone, logs into Ocala Regional
Medical Center’s electronic patient information system, and
checks his patients’ records. "More than once I’ve been
contacted about a patient and through [the software] I can
order tests before seeing the patient," said Turner, an
anesthesiologist. "That to me, has the greatest advantage. I
can start processing stuff before I see the patient."

(February 1, 2007)



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January
2007





Report Finds Problems with New Health IT Donation Rules


A

new report released
by First Consulting Group details
recent exemptions to the Stark Act and anti-kickback
regulations that allow hospitals and others to donate IT to
physicians, and it also highlights remaining barriers and
nine implications potential donors could face
.

(January 31, 2007)



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National health net will need service providers


The concept of a health information service provider is
emerging as a core element of a future Nationwide Health
Information Network. The term kept coming up at last week’s
NHIN Forum in Washington, D.C., and at the American Health
Information Community session on the NHIN development work
to date. Dr. John Loonsk, director of the Office of the
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s
(ONCHIT) Office of Interoperability and Standards, said the
new providers would supply infrastructure and technical
services for NHIN operation. They would allow doctors,
clinics and hospitals more time to concentrate on the
information they are sending and receiving via the network,
he said.

(January 31, 2007)



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Health care targets paper trail


Kaiser Permanente has spent more than $3 billion to create a
national medical records database, making it one of the
first health care providers in the region to go paperless.
Dr. John Mattison, chief medical information officer, said
all of Kaiser’s 84 Southern California clinics will be able
to check medical histories, lab results, progress notes and
order prescriptions for 2 million patients with the push of
a button by the end of the year. "This is the kind of
investment that is going to transform how we deliver health
care," Mattison said.

(January 31, 2007)



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Tennessee Extends E-Prescribing System To Rural Doctors


TennCare, Tennessee’s Medicaid program, soon will
provide rural physicians with access to an electronic
prescription system that aims to reduce pharmacy costs,
increase efficiency and improve patient safety.

(January 31, 2007)



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Survey: Consumers Have Concerns About Insurer-Provided PHRs


Just 7% of insured consumers use online personal health
records being offered by an increasing number of health
plans, according to a survey of insured U.S. consumers by
Forrester Research. Twenty-two percent of respondents said
that their insurer offers a PHR but that they have not used
it, while 19% report that their insurer does not yet offer a
PHR. However, 53% of respondents have never accessed their
health plan’s site, according to the survey.

(January 31, 2007)



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Tehachapi Selects Mendocino Informatics to Build Health
Information Exchange


East Kern County Integrated

Technology Association (EKCITA), a federally funded
technology project in

Tehachapi, California, has selected Mendocino Informatics to
build a rural

health information exchange.

(January 31, 2007)



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PatientKeeper Replaces Incumbent Mobile Application Vendor
at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center


PatientKeeper, Inc.
today announced that Southwestern Vermont Medical Center
(SVMC), a community hospital in Bennington, Vt., has
replaced its incumbent mobile application vendor with
PatientKeeper. SVMC, a member of VHA — a healthcare
provider alliance of more than

2,400 not-for-profit health care organizations

benefits from enhanced patient safety, better physician
affinity, and significant time savings for its physicians
through use of PatientKeepers
physician information system. The PatientKeeper Mobile
Clinical Results application enables providers to access
patient information anytime, anywhere with PDAs and
Smartphones.


(January 31, 2007)



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First Citywide EHR Network To Debut in Massachusetts


North Adams, Mass., in February plans to launch a
citywide computer health network and become the first city
in the U.S. where any physician and many nurses in the city
can access the electronic health records from their offices,
North Adams Regional Hospital or the visiting nurses
association.

(January 30, 2007)



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Disruptive Innovation: The Acceptance and Adoption of New
Technologies


Healthcare is in a crisis. Too many people are being injured
or killed by medical errors and preventable adverse drug
events. The Institute of Medicine reports that medical
errors are the eighth leading cause of death in the United
States, contributing to more than 98,000 deaths and one
million injuries annually. The resulting toll on hospitals
is also alarming: Liability costs for adverse events are
estimated to be in the billions and are compounded by the
loss of patient trust in the healthcare system and
diminished staff satisfaction and low morale. That trust is
extended beyond hospitals to physicians. Physicians,
hospitals and health system chief executives believe that
technology can help solve this problem. It is time for the
U.S. healthcare industry to embrace 21st century technology
to streamline operations, improve patient care and build a
safer health system. However, there are two primary
issues–funding and adoption–that must be addressed before
advanced technologies such as electronic medical records,
personal health records, electronic prescribing and
telemedicine can enable physicians to deliver the enhanced
care that will improve patient safety, patient compliance
and deliver optimal outcomes. Due to razor-thin profit
margins and ongoing budget constraints, only a few of
today’s healthcare providers can afford to make extensive
investments in health information technology.

(January 30, 2007)



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Hope, challenges in computerizing medical records


This old textile city is about to become the first in the
United States where residents have electronic medical
records that in an instant can be viewed by any physician
and many nurses in the community, from their offices, the
local hospital, or the visiting nurses association. North
Adams, a city of about 14,000 residents in the northern
Berkshires, plans to turn on its computer health network
next month. Similar networks of shared patient information
are scheduled to go live in Brockton and Newburyport this
summer, and doctors are working on a system for Boston as
well as ways to link doctors and hospitals across the state.

(January 30, 2007)



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CCHIT certifies 18 additional EHR products; total now 55


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology (CCHIT) announced Monday the certification of 18
additional electronic health record products for
office-based physicians, bringing the total number of
certified products to 55. CCHIT, the independent, nonprofit
organization recognized by the federal government as an
official certification body for electronic health record
products, has so far certified a total of 55 ambulatory EHR
products and estimates that 25 percent of the companies in
the ambulatory EHR market are now certified, a statement
from the organization said.


(January 30, 2007)



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Camden center gets records system grant


The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey is scheduled to
present a check for $270,000 today to the CamCare Health
Corporation to help buy and implement an electronic health
records system and to train staff in its use.

(January 30, 2007)



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Partnership Between State and Federal Efforts Needed to
Transform Value-Driven Healthcare System


Effective partnerships between state and federal efforts in
the years ahead will be critical to the success of national
efforts for transformation to a value-driven healthcare
system, according to a report released today by the
Foundation of Research and Education (FORE) of the American
Health Information Management Association (AHIMA). The
report is an extension on the 2006 study on development of
state-level health information exchange (HIE) initiatives,
under contract to the Office of the National Coordinator
(ONC).

(January 29, 2007)



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State switching to electronic med records


Connecticut will use a $5 million federal grant to start the
long, complex and challenging task of converting paper
medical records into electronic forms. The competitive grant
was drawn from the $150 million Medicaid Transformation Act,
intended to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of care
rendered under Medicaid. In the initial round of grants,
totaling $103 million, Connecticut received the
sixth-largest sum from among the 27 states that applied. The
funds are being used for a variety of projects. Connecticut
plans to launch an electronic medical record system for
35,000 Medicaid recipients, whose medical expenses are
already covered by the state. Eventually, all types of
patients could be entered into the system.

(January 29, 2007)



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Wyoming Health Data Organization Takes on Regional Role


The Wyoming Health Information Organization is
attempting to promote the use of electronic health record
systems and connect them to a regional health data exchange
network.

(January 29, 2007)



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Rapid learning through EHRs advances evidence-based medicine


Studies appearing last
week in a special edition of Health Affairs show that
electronic health records advance medical progress and aid
doctors’ decision-making in real time. At a Jan. 26 briefing
sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kaiser
Permanente, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and
Quality, experts and federal officials promoted the
potential of a national deidentified patient database for
advancing evidence-based medicine.


(January 29, 2007)



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Doctors, nurses warming up to digital devices

In many doctors’ offices, and even in patients’ homes,
health care is stepping into the Information Age. Laptop and
handheld computers are making it easier to record and
retrieve information about patients’ conditions. The
Internet is putting up-to-the-minute data in the hands of
health care providers. And high-tech devices are making it
faster and simpler to order laboratory tests and have
prescriptions filled. Nationwide, about one in four doctors
is making some use of electronic health records, according
to a study published in October by the Institute for Health
Policy at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. But
Julie Shroyer, a registered nurse with Excela Health Home
Care and Hospice, has used a laptop computer with a special
home health software package for about eight years.

(January 29, 2007)



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Hospitals get bonuses for quality of care


A demonstration project that Medicare officials describe as
groundbreaking has improved the quality of patient care at
participating hospitals, and according to hospital
officials, saved the lives of 1,284 heart attack patients.
The program, which gives hospitals incentives for complying
with quality-of-care guidelines, will provide bonus Medicare
payments totaling nearly $8.7 million to 115 of the 260
participating hospitals. It was the second year of the
program and the bonuses.

(January 29, 2007)



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Eight companies compete for California HIE contract


The California Regional Health Information Organization
(CalRHIO) will announce by mid-March which of eight would-be
contractors it will hire to build and finance a statewide
health information exchange service. The nonprofit,
statewide organization issued a request for proposals in
December 2006. CalRHIO announced today that the bidders are
Accenture; Covisint; Computer Sciences Corp.; IBM,
partnering with Axolotl; McKesson; Medicity; Sun
Microsystems, and Wellogic.

(January 29, 2007)



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Big Three leaders sign on to federal health care standards


For the domestic automakers, supporting a set of national
health care standards that aims to lower costs and improve
the quality of health care won’t solve all of their
problems. But they say it represents several small steps in
the right direction… By supporting the plan, the
automakers pledged to provide quality and price information
about doctors, hospitals and other medical providers for all
employees in their health care insurance programs. The plan
also calls on them to encourage the use of electronic
medical records and develop incentives for those who buy or
provide high-quality, competitively priced care.

(January 29, 2007)



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AHCCCS gets $12M grant to go electronic


Arizona’s innovative Medicaid program based on a managed
care model was awarded a $12 million federal grant to launch
a Web-based electronic health records system. The Arizona
Health Care Cost Containment System, which oversees more
than 1 million Medicaid beneficiaries, will use the new
electronic health records system to exchange health
information between Medicaid physicians, hospitals and other
health care providers. The $12 million grant was awarded by
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which
estimates that electronic health information sharing could
save $140 billion nationwide by reducing duplicative care,
administrative costs and errors.

(January 29, 2007)



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Vendor Notebook: Allscripts to deliver Wolters Kluwer Health
content


Allscripts, a Chicago-based provider of clinical software,
connectivity and information solutions to physicians, has
announced a multi-year agreement with Wolters Kluwer Health.
The Philadelphia-based provider of medical and drug
information services will soon see its clinical content
delivered to users of Allscripts Electronic Health Record
solutions.

(January 29, 2007)



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Just e-prescribe it


With her 9-month-old daughter diagnosed with pneumonia, the
last thing Michelle Bagley wanted to do was take her
daughters to the pharmacy. But doctors throughout southeast
Michigan are making prescriptions safer and easier to fill
with a new program called e-prescribing. Backed by insurance
companies and major employers in the area, physicians are
now able to send their prescriptions electronically to the
pharmacy.

(January 28, 2007)



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Doctors puzzled over Katrina patients – New system would
share medical histories


Dr. Jay Brooks had to do an unusual kind of sleuthing before
he could diagnose and treat the patients from New Orleans
who washed into his Baton Rouge office after Hurricane
Katrina. Their doctors back home had done the usual tests
and blood work, but Brooks had to reconstruct what they
found from the bag of prescription drugs the patients handed
him… For Brooks, the chief of hematology-oncology at
Ochsner Baton Rouge, the bewilderment that many Katrina
evacuees showed about their medical conditions underscores
the need to create a permanent, electronic medical record
that doctors can view if patients find themselves displaced
by a hurricane or otherwise in need of medical care far from
home.

(January 28, 2007)



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HHS showcases electronic health exchange prototypes and
business models


The Department of Health and Human Services came one step
closer this week to developing a nationwide health
information exchange network. At the Third Nationwide Health
Information Network Forum held Jan. 25-26, in Washington,
D.C. , four consortia of healthcare stakeholders provided
demonstrations of health information exchange prototypes,
developed through HHS funding over the past year.

(January 26, 2007)



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Governors roll up their sleeves to work on healthcare data
exchange


Robert M. Kolodner, MD, the nation’s interim healthcare IT
chief this morning told governors from across the country
they would play a critical role in building a healthcare
system for the nation. “At present time we have a healthcare
sector, but it would be a real stretch to call it a
healthcare system,” Kolodner said. There are pieces that
don’t really work together, he said. The governors and other
state and national leaders assembled here this morning for
the inaugural meeting of the State Alliance for eHealth.

(January 26, 2007)



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Doyle Wants Conversion To Electronic Medical Records


Gov. Jim Doyle said on Thursday that he’ll ask lawmakers to
approve $30 million in funding to help health care providers
convert to electronic medical record systems. He said he
wants Wisconsin to be the first state in which a patient’s
medical history is electronically available at all hospitals
and doctors’ offices.

(January 26, 2007)



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Experts see need for federal financing of NHIN


At the close of a meeting today that brought together some
of the nation’s most experienced and knowledgeable people to
discuss financing of health information technology, the
experts had more questions than answers on how to pay for
the National Health Information Network. Representatives of
the four contractor teams that have worked on NHIN
development for the past year presented their analyses of
how the network should be financed. Three said that within
two to eight years, it could generate enough revenues to pay
its own operating costs. But those forecasts were based on
some assumptions and did not include the initial capital
costs of building the network. A fourth contractor team,
that Computer Sciences Corp. led, did not forecast a
breakeven point because use of the network it advocates is
free at the national level. Dr. Marc Overhage, president and
chief executive officer of the Indiana Health Information
Exchange, spoke for the CSC team.

(January 26, 2007)



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Researchers want comments on anti-fraud features for EHRs


Researchers working under contract for the Department of
Health and Human Services are soliciting comments on ways to
build anti-fraud and billing-error prevention features into
electronic health records (EHRs) systems.

(January 26, 2007)



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JAMIA Study: EHR Adoption Requires Multi-Pronged Strategy


Health IT has been proven to
improve efficiency, reduce
medical errors and raise quality
of care. So why is it, that even
in a progressive state like
Massachusetts, most small office
practices still have not adopted
electronic health records
(EHRs)?


"We have still a long way to
go," admits Dr. Steven R. Simon,
lead author of a statewide study
published in the current


Journal of the American Medical
Informatics Association

(JAMIA). The survey of 1,345
physicians, conducted last
spring, showed that almost half
of Massachusetts physicians use
EHRs but only about one in four
office practices have adopted
the technology. Respondents
identified start-up financial
costs as barriers (84 percent),
as well as concerns about loss
of productivity (81 percent).
Physicians also had concerns
about technical factors, such as
lack of computer skills and
technical support.



(January 25, 2007)



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21st-century health care in Pa.


You won’t find a paper file there.

There’s little chance of doctors’ losing patient files.
Records — from X-rays to medication — are electronic. Nor
will it take several visits for diagnosis and treatment
recommendation. Not there, not at Orthopedic & Spine
Specialists in York Township. Instead, patients schedule one
appointment where within a matter of hours, within one
facility, they’ll know what’s wrong and how doctors might
fix it, or not. "The electronic system is a tremendous cost
savings and efficiency savings," said Sandra Eckard, chief
operating officer of the York Township facility. "You never
lose a chart." Electronic medical records and tele-radiology
are high-tech medical stuff. Both are efficient,
cost-effective and the wave of the future.

(January 25, 2007)



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NEWS RELEASE: States Get Federal Backing to Build More
Efficient, High Quality Medicaid Systems


HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt today awarded $103 million to 27
states across the nation to fund implementation of new ways
to improve Medicaid efficiency, economy and quality of care.
…the funds will support more widespread use of electronic
health care records that can be accessed by whole treatment
teams, a move within the medical community to improve
quality of care and reduce the potential for medical errors.

(January 25, 2007)



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‘Global Lifeguard’ to be the first nationwide provider of
personal health record access in Canada


Aristex Health Solutions Inc. announces the

launch of its flagship product, Global Lifeguard – an
innovative new service that allows Canadians to conveniently
access their secure medical records over the Internet.
Global Lifeguard will be the first nationwide provider of
personal health record access in Canada, offering members
24/7 access to their medical information from the comfort of
their own home.

(January 25, 2007)



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State of the Union: Bush pushes IT to reduce healthcare
costs


President Bush in his State of the Union address Tuesday
night told Congress that healthcare information technology
should be advanced to reduce costly medical errors, and he
urged the use of healthcare IT to promote healthcare price
transparency.

(January 24, 2007)



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President’s State of the Union Address is a Home Run for
Harnessing Information Technology to Transform Healthcare


For the fourth year in a row, health information technology
was specifically mentioned by President George W. Bush
during his annual State of the Union Address.

(January 24, 2007)



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HHS releases progress report on federal healthcare IT goals


Since 2004, the United States has made strides toward
automating its healthcare system, according to a report
released today by the Department of Health and Human
Services. The report details HHS accomplishments toward the
goal of healthcare automation that President Bush first
called for in his 2004 State of the Union Address,
reiterated in his 2005 speech and again in the State of the
Union Address Tuesday night.

(January 24, 2007)



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Central Florida RHIO Names InterSystems Vendor of Choice To
Provide HealthShare Health Information Exchange Platform


InterSystems Corporation today announced that the Central
Florida Regional Health Information Organization (CFRHIO)
has selected InterSystems as vendor of choice (VOC) to
enable its health information exchange initiative.
InterSystems’ HealthShare will be the health information
exchange platform for cross-organization exchange of
clinical data throughout the RHIO.

(January 24, 2007)



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Vets can see EMR data


The Department of Veterans Affairs has begun populating
veterans’ personal health records with live information from
the electronic medical records (EMRs) that the department
maintains in its Veterans Health Information Systems and
Technology Architecture. Beginning with medications last
month, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) will
introduce new portions of the medical records every few
weeks. By December, “most of the key portions of this
information will be available to them electronically” in
their MyHealtheVet records, said Ginger Price, director of
the MyHealtheVet program.

(January 24, 2007)



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VA and DoD to launch integrated healthcare IT system


Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Nicholson today said the
VA and the Department of Defense plan to launch an
integrated healthcare information system capable of
seamlessly transferring patient information between their
two departments. “The new system will become a model for
others to emulate and probably will have an immeasurable
effect on the HIT community, both large and small,”
Nicholson said at today’s meeting of the federal American
Health Information Community.

(January 23, 2007)



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Survey: Most Texans Predict Positive Impact from
E-Prescriptions


Nearly three out of four Texas residents believe that
electronic prescriptions will have a positive impact on the
health care they receive.

(January 23, 2007)



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Newt Gingrich on (Nearly) Everything


Newt Gingrich waited patiently for attendees to be seated
and was, perhaps, forgetful of the large internet audience
already listening in. He turned to a session organizer and
said, "I think I want to do a totally different talk. They
already get the big picture and vision stuff."… He
championed the push for electronic health records (EHRs).
Retaining paper means "you’re willing to kill people," he
said. Consider the Katrina aftermath.

(January 23, 2007)



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The National Medical Banking Institute: March 5 – 7, 2007


The 5th National Medical Banking Institute in Marietta, GA,
March 5-7, 2007. This will offer a compelling view of the
future of healthcare by inviting the banking industry into
the national dialogue focused on improving healthcare.

(January 23, 2007)



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White Paper Executive Summary on EHR Implementation Across
the Globe Now Available


Members of the HIMSS Global Enterprise Task Force, under the
direction of Steve Arnold, MD, MBA, FHIMSS, have conducted
extensive research to identify and describe significant
healthcare information enterprise solution efforts being
pursued in 19 countries.

(January 22, 2007)



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Dell-Zogby Poll Shows Texans Optimistic Information
Technology Can Improve Health Care


Texans are optimistic about the potential of information
technology to improve patient care, reduce costs and help
transform the state’s overall health-care system, according
to a statewide survey released today by Dell (NASDAQ:DELL)
and independent polling firm Zogby International.

(January 19, 2007)



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The Payoff: Online Tool Calculates ROI From
Pay-for-Performance Program


Pay for performance has been a buzz topic in the health care
industry, but so far there hasn’t been a standard method of
measuring the benefits of these programs. This week the
Leapfrog Group, in partnership with HSM Group and Discern
Consulting, took the first step toward measuring these
outcomes by launching the ROI Estimator. The Web-based tool
allows health care purchasers and health plans gauge
potential financial and clinical benefits of a Leapfrog
pay-for-performance program.

(January 19, 2007)



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Interoperability is health IT conference’s focus


An average, midsize U.S. hospital operates about 200
interfaces between clinical systems. Every time a vendor
significantly tweaks one of those systems, it can cost a
hospital $20,000 per change or as much as $50,000 to adapt
and manage that interface over the system’s lifetime.
Eliminating such costs is the goal of the Integrating the
Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) project, which held its annual
Connectathon here last week. A technical jamboree of 350
engineers from 77 companies, the event featured teams
feverishly debugging the workflow of their products between
one or more of 150 clinical health applications.

(January 18, 2007)



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ONCHIT executive cautions against ‘stifling’ new players


Progress on developing a national health care “network of
networks” is being hampered by exclusively regional network
solutions, John Loonsk, a physician and director of
interoperability at the Office of the National Coordinator
for Health Information Technology (ONCHIT), said here
recently. “Most efforts to achieve significant data sharing
have not been successful,” said Loonsk, who spoke before the
Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise Connectathon meeting
here last week. Although there has been “lots of progress in
terms of commonality of architectures, unique regional
solutions have impeded this market,” he said.

(January 18, 2007)



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More companies committed to Bush transparency plan


Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt
announced Wednesday that 175 companies – up from 100 in
December – have now pledged to abide by the president’s
transparency plan for advancing value-driven healthcare in
the U.S. The announcement came at a luncheon sponsored by
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Partnership for
Prevention, where Leavitt said that among the 175 companies
are some of the largest firms in the country, representing
purchasers of healthcare for 72 million Americans.

(January 18, 2007)



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Post Katrina Proposal is Rich in Health IT; Awaits HHS
Approval

In
the year since Hurricane Katrina
devastated the Gulf Coast,
health IT has emerged as a key
element in ambitious plans to
rebuild and improve Louisiana’s
healthcare infrastructure.


Although "we were hoping for
Santa to give us an electronic
health record, we looked under
the tree and it wasn’t there,"
quips Dr. Allan Miller, a
physician stakeholder in the
Louisiana


Healthcare Redesign
Collaborative
, a
40-member state-appointed board.
Health IT is a crucial component
of a proposal drafted by the
Collaborative that seeks to
redesign healthcare delivery and
financing in Katrina-affected
parishes as well as the entire
state.



(January 18, 2007)



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Perspective: Helping communities organize one community at a
time


Six months ago, Misys
Healthcare Systems launched

The Center
for Community Health Leadership to drive
development of health information exchanges by
technologically connecting one community at a time.
Yesterday, January 16, it awarded its first recipient−New
Haven, Connecticut
−with a $3 million grant to create a
community-wide electronic health record network.


(January 17, 2007)



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ONC contractor seeks comments on EHR anti-fraud measures


A contractor to the Department of Health and Human Services,
Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information
Technology (ONC), will seek public comment until Jan. 22 on
60 proposed requirements for preventing fraud in electronic
health records.

(January 17, 2007)



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Giving it Away: E-Prescribing Initiative Boasts Free
Web-Based Technology


Paper prescriptions could soon be an antiquated memory, an
obsolete reminder of less efficient, more error-ridden days
of health care yore. At least that’s the hope of the
National ePrescribing Patient Safety Initiative, which on
Tuesday launched a program that will provide electronic
prescribing to every physician in the U.S. at no cost.
E-prescribing for some time has been touted as a solution to
errors from physicians’ sloppy handwriting and adverse drug
interactions. However, despite the potential of
e-prescribing, adoption rates have remained low due to
concerns ranging from cost to interoperability.

(January 17, 2007)



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Healthcare IT companies may be on GE’s shopping list


GE Healthcare and Allscripts declined to comment on recent
published reports that proceeds from the impending sale of
Fairfield, Conn. -based General Electric’s plastics division
might be used to buy healthcare technology companies.

(January 16, 2007)



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Survey: Increasing Health IT Should Be a Congressional
Priority


Increasing the use of IT
to improve the quality and safety of health care ranked as
the third highest health care priority for Congress to
address in the next five years, according to a

survey
by the Commonwealth Fund/Harris Interactive.


(January 16, 2007)



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Google Co-op for Health Gets Boost from PHR Expert Kibbe

A
leading advocate of electronic
medical records, personal health
records, and other health-IT
measures in ambulatory care has
joined a small number of
contributors to the experimental


Google Co-op for Health

online community who are working
to refine the quality of Web
searches for healthcare
information. Last month, David
C. Kibbe, senior advisor to and
former director of the


American Academy of Family
Physicians
‘(AAFP)


Center for Health Information
Technology
, became
just the third individual to
start tagging Web sites turned
up in


Google
searches on
health and medical topics.



(January 16, 2007)



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Technology to put patient info all together


In the grand scheme of medical care, making sure that the
people who most need flu shots actually get them may seem
like a small thing… Right now the Vermont Department of
Health has no way of knowing whether the people at the
highest risk of succumbing to the flu – including those with
chronic diseases – are getting immunized, Commissioner
Sharon Moffatt said Wednesday as she unveiled the state’s
new Chronic Care Information System… If patients were
aware of their vulnerability to influenza, they could get
immunized early instead of waiting until January when the
flu season is already under way, Moffatt said. The
technology introduced last week to an audience of
legislators and health professionals will allow doctors to
keep track of such information, Moffatt said.

(January 14, 2007)



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What’s Next: Trends Driving the Health IT Market in 2007


As 2007 approached, it
became clear that some obvious factors would affect the
health IT landscape over the next few years, most notably
the new Congress and the shift to new Democratic majority
leadership. Regardless of the recent political changes, some
IT issues have slowly been gaining momentum in recent years,
such as growing adoption rates of electronic health records
and other technology, and they are poised to make an impact
on the health IT market this year. James Brennan — a
managing director of health care and technology mergers and
acquisitions with MidMarket Capital, an investment banking
and business brokerage firm — talked with iHealthBeat
about trends in the health IT market and what factors are
driving technology.


(January 12, 2007)



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Healthcare IT a key aspect of physicians’ reform principles


Ten U.S. physician associations have joined together to
release a list of principles intended to guide reform of the
U.S. healthcare system. The physician groups say they hope
to provide guidance to national and state officials as
healthcare reforms gather steam across the country. “The
American people want the new Congress to be a
healthcare-focused Congress,” said Douglas Henley, MD,
executive vice president of the American Academy of Family
Physicians. “We hope that these principles help to push
lawmakers in the direction of reform.” One of the 11 reform
principles calls, in part, for sufficient funds to support a
“comprehensive health information technology infrastructure
and implementation.”

(January 12, 2007)



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PHR certification a focus of AHIC workgroup meeting


Members of an advisory panel to the American Health
Information Community engaged in a vigorous debate Wednesday
over the timeliness of developing certification criteria for
personal health records. “Certification of PHRs is
premature,” Steve Shihadeh of Microsoft told his colleagues
on AHIC’s Consumer Empowerment Workgroup. “The policy issues
haven’t been hammered out sufficiently and certification is
likely to stifle innovation.” Shihadeh was criticizing a
draft recommendation that the committee was debating during
its afternoon meeting in the nation’s capital.

(January 11, 2007)



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Coalition to offer free e-prescribing


A coalition of five technology vendors and three major
insurers has formed an alliance to provide free electronic
prescribing services for every physician in America. The
National E-Prescribing Safety Initiative coalition includes
Microsoft, Google, and Dell Computer. Other partners include
SureScripts, the major e-prescribing company in the United
States, and Allscripts, an electronic health records
company.

(January 10, 2007)



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Quality movement gets boost from Congress


When the 110th Congress led by Democrats gets to work this
week, it won’t be starting from scratch on health
information technology issues. Late last year, lame-duck
lawmakers managed to squeeze a quality measurement incentive
provision into a year-end package of tax, trade and
healthcare legislation. Among other things, the Tax Relief
and Health Care Act of 2006, signed by President Bush last
December 20, requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) to establish a physician quality reporting
system and authorizes it to pay Medicare providers a 1.5
percent bonus if they report certain quality measures
beginning on July 1, 2007. The legislation also enables CMS
to develop quality reporting for Medicare hospital
outpatient and ambulatory surgical center services.

(January 9, 2007)



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CDC awards $3.7 million to improve public health and
healthcare information sharing for disease detection


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has
announced $3.7 million in new grants designed to enhance
healthcare information in an effort to improve the detection
and response to emerging public health threats. The new
grants will fund studies at three new Centers of Excellence
in Public Health Informatics located at New York City
Department of Health and Hygiene; the University of Utah,
Salt Lake City; and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore,
Maryland. “The goal of this funding will be identifying new
tools and methods to enhance health information sharing and
ultimately lead to the adoption of a nationwide,
technology-based, integrated healthcare surveillance system.
We hope we’ll be able to detect emerging public health
threats earlier and more efficiently,” said Dr. Steve
Solomon, director of the Coordinating Center for Health
Information and Service at CDC.

(January 8, 2007)



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EHR Adoption Efforts Should Focus on Small Practices


Nearly half of all
physicians in Massachusetts use electronic health records,
but the majority of EHR adopters are concentrated in large,
financially stable, multispecialty groups, according to a
study published in the current Journal of the American
Medical Informatics Association
. The statewide survey
of 1,345 physicians, which was conducted in spring 2005,
sought to assess where Massachusetts stands in terms of EHR
adoption and to measure the factors that influence adoption.
While the survey found that 45% of physicians use an EHR,
only 23% of practices have adopted the technology. Practice
size and EHR adoption were strongly related, as 52% of
practices with seven or more physicians reported using an
EHR, compared with just 14% of solo practices.
Hospital-based practices and teaching practices also were
more likely to use EHRs, the survey found.


(January 8, 2007)



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ID theft reaches medical realm – Stolen health care creates
headaches, incorrect medical charts, empty wallets


Identity theft can be a nightmare. If somebody steals your
credit card and makes purchases in your name, you may spend
hours on the phone with banks and credit agencies trying to
restore your financial reputation. But medical identity
theft can be even worse. Victims lose more than just money;
their very lives may be at stake.

(January 7, 2007)



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CCHIT releases proposed test scripts for 2007 certifications


Earlier this week, the Certification Commission for
Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) released proposed
test scripts and data test files for use in certifications
for 2007. Sue Reber, spokeswoman for CCHIT, said the
proposed ambulatory electronic health record test scripts
will first be used during a pilot in January and when
finalized should help vendors prepare for certification in
2007.

(January 5, 2007)



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MedLink Announces Agreement With Doshi Diagnostic of New
Jersey to Supply MedLink EHR to Over 5,000 New Jersey
Clinician Offices as PACS Delivery Method


MedLink International,
Inc. (OTCBB:

MLKNA
) (FRANKFURT: WM6B) has entered into an Electronic
Health Services Agreement with Doshi Diagnostic Imaging
Services of New Jersey, LLC. Under the terms of the
agreement, Doshi will utilize the MedLink VPN to deliver
radiology reports and related DICOM images from its 6
radiology centers in the state of New Jersey to its more
than 5,000 referring physician offices. The referring
physicians will utilize the MedLink EHR to view current and
past reports on their patients enabling them to generate a
more accurate electronic health record of their patients.


(January 4, 2007)



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Computer theft may have exposed patient data across five
states – Tens of thousands of people could be affected


The theft of a computer from the office of an Ohio-based
health care contractor on Nov. 23 has exposed sensitive data
belonging to tens of thousands of patients in five health
care firms across five states. The compromised data includes
the names, addresses, medical record numbers, diagnoses,
treatment information and Social Security numbers of the
patients.

(January 4, 2007)



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Greater Rochester RHIO Selects Axolotl For Health
Information Exchange Solutions and Services


Greater Rochester Regional Health Information
Organization (gRrhio), in New York, has selected Axolotl’s
e2 technology and professional services to realize their
vision of a federated, patient-centric health information
exchange. Using Axolotl’s integrated Record Locator Service
(RLS) and its community-wide Master Patient Index (MPI),
providers throughout the community will have the ability to
access medication history, laboratory reports, and radiology
reports/eImaging via a secure web portal. Physicians in
gRrhio’s service area will also use Axolotl’s integrated
e-prescribing solution and secure clinical messaging to
receive patient data from multiple hospitals, reference
laboratories, and imaging centers. Data will be delivered to
physicians’ in a way that aligns with their needs and fits
with their current workflow – directly to EMR’s, to
Axolotl’s Elysium EMR or by fax.



(January 3, 2007)



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Orthopedic Practice Signs Seven-Year Contract


Columbia Orthopaedic Group, a 24-physician orthopedic
practice in Columbia, Mo., has selected InteGreat’s
IC-Chart® as its electronic health records (EHR) system and
IC-MyHealthRecord® for its patient portal to enhance patient
care and reduce overall costs.



(January 3, 2007)



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Industry leaders identify movers and shakers to watch in
2007


Since President Bush mentioned the electronic medical record
in his 2004 State of the Union Address, the concept of
automating healthcare has become part of everyday talk. A
concept that may have seemed abstract to many just three
years ago seems complex, but doable today. It won’t be that
simple or quick, of course, to transform a behemoth into a
smart, new machine, industry insiders say. But, there are
plenty of movers and shakers doing their part. Healthcare
IT News
asked a few of these leaders to identify who –
besides themselves – would likely influence healthcare IT
initiatives in 2007. Who is worth watching?

(January 3, 2007)



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Lockheed Martin Canada Selects InterSystems Ensemble For
Integration Backbone Of Canadian Forces Health Information
Systems Project


InterSystems Corporation today announced that Lockheed
Martin Canada has selected InterSystems’ Ensemble
integration software for the Canadian Forces Health
Information System (CFHIS). The CFHIS program, awarded to
Lockheed Martin in 2002, is a 10-year $54.5M CDN effort
designed to enable more than 2,500 Canadian Forces (CF)
healthcare providers located in clinics across Canada to
share information securely and coordinate care for
approximately 85,000 regular and reserve force personnel
worldwide.

(January 2, 2007)



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VA To Link Genetic Data with EHRs


The Department of Veterans Affairs has begun a pilot
project to collect genetic information from patients and
link the data to patients’ electronic health records to
determine connections between certain diseases and genes.

(January 2, 2007)



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Ohio Pilot Program To Encourage E-Prescriptions


An Ohio employer group this month is launching a pilot
program to encourage more physicians in the Akron-Canton
area to adopt electronic prescriptions in an effort to
reduce medication transcription errors.

(January 2, 2007)



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Secretary Leavitt inaugurates value-drive healthcare plan


Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael
Leavitt launched yet another part of the Bush
administration’s value-driven healthcare plan to expand
transparency in cost and quality of care to consumers. At a
meeting of Pacific Northwest business and healthcare
leaders, Leavitt announced that the non-profit Puget Sound
Health Alliance will be the first in a national network of
local organizations to have access to Medicare data for
reporting care and cost outcomes to the public.

(January 1, 2007)



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IT seen as critical to patient-centered care


The federal government and other healthcare stakeholders are
increasingly interested in “patient-centered care” as a
measure of quality of care. The two go hand-in-hand,
industry and government leaders say. At a recent Washington
D.C. briefing by the Commonwealth Fund and the Alliance for
Health Reform, Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis said
healthcare information technology is at the top of the list
for driving patient-centered care.

(January 1, 2007)



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Readers expect boost in IT adoption over next five years


The results of the Commonwealth Fund 2006 International
Health Policy Survey released recently revealed that the
United States is well behind the rest of the industrial
world in IT implementation. More than 75 percent of readers
who responded to last month’s Healthcare IT News poll said
they expected U.S. hospitals would increase their use of
healthcare IT technology and surpass some of the countries
that are ahead of the United States in healthcare IT
technology adoption.

(January 1, 2007)



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New Congress, fresh IT start?


All over Washington, the buzz is healthcare. It didn’t have
much to do with the November toppling of the Republicans in
Congress—those votes were derived from disillusionment in
other areas… “Value-driven healthcare” is the bottom line
for the administration’s plans, and it rests firmly on the
back of healthcare IT advancement. If you can’t have doctors
wired up, you can’t measure their performance and you can’t
give them incentives and get this ball rolling. The problem
is, who is going to pay for doctors to have the needed
technology? That’s the crux of most of the disputes in
Washington over healthcare IT.

(January 1, 2007)



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Search is on for national deputy healthcare IT chief


The Department of Health and Human Services has begun
searching for a deputy national coordinator to fill the
interim position held by Col. Victor Eilenfield. According
to inside sources, the search has no real bearing on how
long Interim National Coordinator Robert Kolodner, MD, will
hold his position as the federal healthcare IT czar.

(January 1, 2007)



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Third NHIN forum to feature demonstrations


The four consortia charged with developing prototypes for a
national health information network will offer
demonstrations at the third government-sponsored NHIN forum.
Jan 25-26 at the Grand Hyatt Washington.

(January 1, 2007)



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Personal Health Records: Employers Proceed with Caution


With health care spending on the rise, employers are
increasingly at the forefront of shaping solutions to
promote employee wellness. Some are beginning to offer
personal health records (PHRs) as a tool to improve health
and manage costs.

(January 1, 2007)



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Physicians gear up for quality reporting program


Physicians who originally had feared a fee cut from the
nation’s Medicare program can now look forward to a 1.5
percent raise – if they agree to report on the quality of
care given some of their patients… What is known is that
doctors will qualify for a 1.5 percent bonus, beginning in
July, if they report on a list of 16 “evidence-based”
measures, such as drugs prescribed to patients with
cholesterol, treatment of high blood pressure issues in
diabetic patients or treatment of elderly patients after
falls. The boost would only apply to Medicare payments
between July and December of this year.

(January 1, 2007)



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