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Electronic Health Records News & Views Archives

July 2006 – December 2006

(in reverse chronological order)

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



December
2006





Healthcare IT chief post remains uncertain as search begins
for deputy


The Department of Health and Human Services announced last
week its search for a deputy national coordinator to fill
the existing interim position held by Col. Victor
Eilenfield. Meanwhile, how long the nation’s interim
healthcare IT czar will remain on the job remains uncertain.
According to inside sources, the search for this position
has no real bearing on how long Interim National Coordinator
Robert Kolodner, MD, will hold his position as the federal
healthcare IT czar.

(December 28, 2006)



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New Push for PHRs by AHIP and BCBSA Seeks to Spur Developer
and Clinician Communities


At a time when Nike’s
new Air Zoom shoes send fitness data to a runner’s iPod
Nano, the announcement last week that health insurers would
create a portable, Web-based personal health record (PHR)
seems hardly revolutionary. In fact, speakers from the


America’s Health Insurance Plans
(AHIP) and


Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
(BCBSA) at
a press conference in Washington, D.C. used a great variety
of terms whose meaning boiled down to "first step." Still,
the real significance of the announcement was to spur the
software industry to begin cranking out applications which
could be used by consumers to maximize the value of these
PHRs, and to convince physicians and hospitals to make a
long-delayed start at ramping up the office-based electronic
health records systems which will be the prime beneficiary
of PHRs in the era of real-time medicine.


(December 28, 2006)



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Manhattan Medical Group Opts to Outsource IT… for Now


Healthcare providers have traditionally been cautious
adopters of IT outsourcing, but the practice is
accelerating, with many hospitals today looking to outsource
all or a significant portion of their IT operations, says
Mark Voytek, an industry analyst with TPI, a Houston-based
sourcing advisory company. TPI’s quarterly report on the
state of the global outsourcing industry, released this
fall, showed the momentum of healthcare outsourcing activity
accelerating this year, with " huge growth expected in
2007," says Voytek. As many medical groups suffer the
growing pains of mergers, acquisitions or divestitures, the
ability of outsourcers to deliver services rapidly on a
flexible scale is particularly valuable.

(December 28, 2006)



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Sun’s Healthcare Mantra: Reduce Cost and Complexity


Sun Microsystems director of Healthcare and Life Sciences,
Joerg Schwarz, talks about the need to change financial
incentives to spur Health IT adoption, describes mistakes
made by the giant U.K. health-IT initiative, outlines Sun’s
healthcare strategy, and provides an assessment of Sun’s
performance in the race by global IT giants to help improve
healthcare and create new markets for themselves.

(December 27, 2006)



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Realizing the Vision for IT in Healthcare


"There’s a very
fundamental and serious flaw in the infrastructure of
medicine," Lawrence L. Weed, M.D., said to close the


Institute for Healthcare Improvement
‘s 18th
annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Health Care.
"You couldn’t design a better system to create errors in
medicine."


(December 27, 2006)



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Health systems stride away from paper records


The region’s two largest health systems are headed into a
paperless future, one they vow holds remarkable convenience
for patients and new efficiencies for doctors and nurses.
Avera Health and Sioux Valley Health System have had
elements of electronic record-keeping in place for years,
but both organizations are driving major initiatives to
better connect their systems of hospitals, clinics and
offices through fully electronic patient records. "I feel
like we’ve gone from one century to another … just with
this first phase," said Jan Burnette, director of Sioux
Valley Hospital’s cardiovascular unit. Electronic medical
records mean convenience for patients, such as computers in
exam rooms so you don’t have to fill out paper forms; having
a doctor send your prescription electronically to the drug
store of your choice so it’s ready to pick up after you
leave the clinic; or spending less time waiting before
surgery because the doctor already has your vital
information.

(December 26, 2006)



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Hospitals to implement health information exchange system


Anyone who has had an encounter with a hospital knows the
drill. You register. You fill out a questionnaire attached
to a clipboard asking you to list all the medications you
are taking. A nurse then asks the same questions. Later, two
or three nurses in other departments take down the
information and then a doctor reviews it with you. By the
end of February, Vermonters who use the Rutland or St.
Johnsbury hospitals will be able to eliminate that drill by
taking advantage of new information-sharing capabilities
between distant computers. A health information exchange
system being implemented by Vermont Information Technology
Leaders will allow emergency room doctors at Rutland
Regional Medical Center and Northeastern Vermont Regional
Hospital to access patients’ prescription records – with
their permission – and within seconds get an accurate
printout of their patients’ medication history. Eventually,
the medication history service will be available in
emergency departments statewide.

(December 24, 2006)



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Guest Opinion: Secure, paperless medical records needed


We have all been through this scenario: A new doctor’s visit
means you also get new patient forms to detail your entire
health history. A trip to a specialist has you responsible
for your records and X-rays being sent in time. It is
frustrating, and it is outdated. Imagine instead an
electronic and secure way for doctors to better care for you
– a secure paperless system that saves time, money and even
lives. Electronic health records can provide your entire
medical profile to any doctor you visit, drastically speed
the process to receive lab and radiology results and help
doctors treat you more with more timeliness and accuracy.
The good news is that Arizona is moving in that direction.

(December 21, 2006)



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Bush plan to advance healthcare IT makes progress


Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Michael
Leavitt announced today that more than 100 companies have
signed up to participate in the Administration’s plan to
advance healthcare through the use of information
technology.

(December 20, 2006)



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Massachusetts Blues Enhances Its E-Prescribing Program


Boston-based Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
(BCBSMA) has decided to use Premium Payor Services from Zix
Corp. (ZixCorp). ZixCorp’s Premium Payor Services provide
access to future value-added services and deliver enhanced
reporting for both payors and providers, aiding in analysis
for incentive program initiatives… BCBSMA, Tufts Health
Plan and Neighborhood Health Plan are members of the eRx
Collaborative. The plans formed the Collaborative in 2003 to
jumpstart the use of comprehensive e-prescribing technology
in Massachusetts.

(December 20, 2006)



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CMS to entice more doctors to volunteer for P4P plan


The federal government continues to seek an ideal incentive
that will prompt doctors to voluntarily participate in its
pay-for-performance programs.

(December 20, 2006)



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Leavitt: Companies endorse health IT goal for employees


Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt is
declaring an initial victory in his campaign to enlist large
employers in a push for health IT and other elements of what
he calls value-driven health care.

(December 20, 2006)



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U.K.: Sharing e-health info requires patient consent


Sharing medical information in electronic health records in
England will require explicit patient consent, the United
Kingdom Department of Health (DOH) said earlier this week.

(December 20, 2006)



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Government to fund nearly $26 million in ambulatory IT
projects


The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has launched
the Ambulatory Safety and Quality Grant Initiative, with a
potential for granting as much as $25.8 million for
healthcare IT projects. Deadline for providing the agency
with letters of intent is Jan. 19. The opportunity to turn
the potential of healthcare IT towards improving safety and
quality in the ambulatory care setting, especially within
care transitions, will form the cornerstone of the new
program, AHRQ officials said. The initiative will provide up
to 104 grants in four program areas: …

(December 19, 2006)



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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT: Brailer Reflects on Health IT in 2007


States in 2007 will
work to "create a more fertile environment" for health IT,
former National Coordinator for Health IT Dr. David Brailer
said in an interview for an iHealthBeat special
audio report. In addition, Brailer said he hopes that
Congress will take "a fresh look" at health IT legislation,
which failed to pass in 2006, because new bills would "be
fundamentally different than something from two years ago."
It also would be "much more specific, much more anticipating
the real issues, which are mostly policy barriers."
Specifically, Brailer anticipates policy changes in the
areas of incentives for health IT adoption and privacy and
security of health records.


(December 19, 2006)



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IHI Issues Challenge: Prevent 5 Million Harmful Events in
Next 24 Months

IT
likely can play a central role
in delivering evidence-based
medicine for congestive heart
failure (CHF) and reducing
incorrect dosing of medications
with high rates of side effects,
two of the six recommended
interventions in a new program
aimed at preventing millions of
in-hospital errors.
Additionally, some believe that
technology will be important in
measuring and sustaining
progress in all facets of the
campaign. Internationally known
patient-safety advocate Donald
M. Berwick, M.D., president and
chief executive of the


Institute for Healthcare
Improvement
(IHI),
Cambridge, Mass., on Tuesday
issued a daunting challenge to
U.S. hospitals: prevent 5
million harmful events over the
next 24 months with six specific
courses of action: …



(December 19, 2006)



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HL7 to Adopt and Maintain ELINCS Lab Standard


In a step forward for broader adoption of electronic health
records, Health Level Seven (HL7) will begin a process to
adopt and maintain the EHR-Lab Interoperability and
Connectivity Specification (ELINCS), according to the
California HealthCare Foundation, which funded ELINCS
development. ELINCS is a data format that enables
standardized lab results reporting between clinical
laboratories and clinician office EHR systems. In addition
to having a permanent home within HL7, ELINCS will be part
of the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise’s (IHE)
Connectathon in Chicago (January 15-19, 2007).

(December 19, 2006)



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It’s about people, not just technology


There are many reasons the National Programme for IT (NPfIT)
in the NHS matters. One is that, at £12.4bn, it is costing
about £2bn more than the total build cost for the Channel
Tunnel. Another is that it could improve the treatment of
patients. If it works, the NPfIT will, for example, replace
paper medical records that can only be in one place at a
time, with an electronic file that can be accessed by
hospital doctors across England. And an electronic medical
record is less likely to go missing than a paper record. But
the national program also matters because it has the
potential to undermine patient care.

(December 19, 2006)



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NJHA and Horizon Team Up to Study RHIO Feasibility


NJHA and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield have launched an
exploratory effort to study the feasibility of creating a
regional health information organization – or RHIO – in New
Jersey. A RHIO is a central repository of electronic health
and medical records, a cornerstone of a region’s effort to
move toward electronic records. Since the Bush
Administration first announced its plan to connect
healthcare information throughout the continuum of care,
many states across the nation have already formed RHIOs. But
to date, no such efforts have emerged in New Jersey. To
fully understand the potential and associated requirements
of a Garden State RHIO, NJHA and Horizon have teamed up to
commission a comprehensive business plan and feasibility
study. Over the next two to three months Kurt Salmon
Associates, a nationally known health information technology
consulting firm, will meet with major New Jersey healthcare
stakeholders to study the benefits and viability of a New
Jersey RHIO.

(December 18, 2006)



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National Changing Diabetes(SM)Program Introduces
DiabetesXChange.org


On the heels of National Diabetes Month, the National
Changing Diabetes(SM) Program unveiled DiabetesXChange.org,
a promising new Web site that will serve as a central online
national clearinghouse for groundbreaking initiatives in
diabetes care, prevention and management in the United
States. The Web site is the premier site for the diabetes
community to share information and learn about the growing
number of successful diabetes programs — from small
community-based initiatives to large government projects and
corporate wellness programs.


(December 18, 2006)



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Washington State unveils health data exchange map


In developing a statewide health information infrastructure,
Washington State Health Care Authority didn’t have to start
from scratch or rely on other state health information
exchange models. “We have a lot of infrastructure already in
place,” said HCA’s Richard Onizuka, the lead author of
“Washington State Health Care Authority Health Information
Infrastructure: Final Report and Roadmap for State Action.”
Washington has two well-regarded and established HIEs:
Whatcom County Health Information Network in Bellingham
connects community health services, payers, hospitals and
physician offices via an Intranet, and Inland Northwest
Health Services connects Spokane-area hospitals and regional
medical services.

(December 18, 2006)



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Electronic records should have industry standard


We have all been through this scenario: a new doctor’s visit
means you also get new patient forms to fill out to detail
your entire health history. A trip to a new specialist means
that you are responsible for tracking down your records and
sending them in on time. With the current outdated
paper-based health care records system, millions of
Floridians are receiving treatment from multiple doctors
without efficient coordination of care. As a rapidly growing
state prone to natural disasters, it is critical that our
health care systems are heading in the right direction using
the right technology. Currently, the South Florida Health
Initiative is one way local hospitals are learning to
connect. The goal is to have electronic health records that
securely show your entire medical profile to any doctor you
visit, drastically speed-up the process to receive lab and
radiology results and help doctors treat you more promptly
and accurately.


(December 18, 2006)



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Paperless records system more efficient


A paperless medical records system, one that can be shared
among hospitals and health care providers locally and
nationwide, will save lives and dollars while reducing
medical errors and bureaucratic inefficiencies, local and
state health care leaders say. Premier Health Partners’ new
$50 million medical records system, launched at Miami Valley
Hospital in October, promises to do just that, said Mikki
Clancy, Premier’s chief information officer

(December 16, 2006)



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Securing Patient Information Starts with the Information
Itself

In
2005, 23 million Americans were
notified that their personal
information had been compromised
in a data security breach of a
corporate, non-profit, or
government database. According
to a

Ponemon Institute

study, personal details
including their birth dates,
Social Security numbers, or
credit card information had been
leaked, stolen, or lost. That
figure represents almost one in
every 10 Americans, and it
continues to grow with
additional data records losses
reported throughout 2006.
Successful healthcare
organizations need to execute
simultaneously on sustained
revenue growth, continuous cost
control, and comprehensive risk
management. Driven by a
significant rise in public
awareness of information
security breaches, the
discipline of risk management is
under increased pressure to
better protect patient
information assets. Healthcare
organizations realize that they
must take steps to better ensure
the availability, integrity, and
confidentiality of electronic
health information.



(December 15, 2006)



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Healthcare IT legislation possible in 2007, lawmakers say


Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that healthcare
IT is near the top of the long list of healthcare agenda
items for the 110th Congress, which began work on Jan. 4.
Passing a healthcare IT bill is possible in 2007, according
to Rep. Phil Gingrey (R–Ga.). “It’s something that has the
potential for consensus, with give and take on both sides,
in the 110th Congress,” Gingrey said. “I think this is
something we can get done – we’re not that far apart.”

(December 14, 2006)



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Projects selected for PHR pilot


Nine research groups have been selected to roll out personal
health records projects under a $4.4 million effort
spearheaded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

(December 14, 2006)



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Prognosis good for health IT law in 2007, Hill staffers say


Health information technology legislation is high on the
list of legislative priorities for the new Democratic
leaders of Congress, according to three veteran Capitol Hill
staff members. Rapid action on health IT is unlikely because
new hearings will be necessary, at least in the House, said
Bridgett Taylor, a health specialist for the Democratic
staff of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “There was
not a lot of open process on the health IT legislation this
year,” she said.

(December 14, 2006)



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States, health IT belong together, health association says


State governments should be more involved in health
information exchanges in their states and in federal
programs to foster health information technology, leaders of
the American Health Information Management Association
(AHIMA) told a Department of Health and Human Services
advisory commission.

(December 13, 2006)



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Insurance industry reps reveal PHR plan


Health insurance industry representatives announced
Wednesday a web-based model for personal health records
(PHRs) that they claim would incorporate core health data
elements, maintain privacy, and enable patients to view and
manage their health information.

(December 13, 2006)



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Coalition will work to digitize medical records


A new planning group hopes to build an electronic
information highway that will link Central New York doctors,
pharmacies, hospitals and insurers. The Health Advancement
Collaborative of Central New York sees the proposed
community-wide electronic medical records system as a tool
with potential to improve health-care quality and
simultaneously control costs, according to Nancy Smith,
executive director of the group.

(December 13, 2006)



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Discord on standards harmonization


A bit of discord remains a part of the federal effort to
harmonize health information technology standards, while a
previously announced government effort to adapt the proposed
national health record system to use a patient’s genetic
test results came into sharper focus during a government IT
advisory panel heard Tuesday. The American Health
Information Community received a formal report on state
health information exchanges during an online and
telephone-linked meeting, including an observation that
"standards harmonized today (are) not always the ones most
urgently needed," according to a presentation by Donald Mon,
vice president of practice leadership at the Chicago-based
American Health Information Management Association, a
professional organization for health information workers.

(December 13, 2006)



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Study: practice structure, not EMR, prompts quality
improvement


A recent study showing
integrated medical groups (IMGs) provide better quality of
care than independent practice associations (IPAs) also
suggested that the use of electronic medical records and
quality improvement strategies by IMGs did not explain the
difference in quality. The study, published last week in
Annals of Internal Medicine
, attributed the difference
in health care quality to structural differences between the
two types of provider organization.




(December 12, 2006)



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Q&A: U.S. health IT exec details ‘trial’ nationwide networks


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced
Friday that it will support trial projects that could lead
to an operating nationwide health information network
(NHIN). John Loonsk, director for interoperability and
standards in HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator for
Health Information Technology, recently talked about how the
trials will work and how HHS will, for the first time, work
directly with local and state health information exchange
groups to build an NHIN. Excerpts from the conversation
follow: …

(December 12, 2006)



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80% Bronx Providers To Share Patients’ E-Medical Records


To help improve the quality and efficiency of care for the
1.4 million people in the Bronx, healthcare providers
throughout the borough have agreed to work together to
create a system for electronic patient records and clinical
information that will have built-in safeguards to protect
individual patient information. The new Bronx Regional
Health Information Organization (Bronx RHIO) is being
established through a $4.1 -million New York State grant,
and its members include institutions with some of the
nation’s most highly advanced electronic clinical
information systems. The Bronx RHIO already encompasses 80
percent of the Bronx’s healthcare providers, 50 percent of
the borough’s practicing physicians and two-thirds of all
Bronx inpatient care. The Bronx RHIO differs from other
RHIOs nationwide, because its members represent the entire
spectrum of healthcare institutions in a single geographic
area. Most RHIOs are forming exclusively among hospitals or
physician groups or other like-institutions, without
broad-based integration. Barbara Radin, formerly the
executive director of Metro Plus Health Plan, will serve as
executive director of the Bronx RHIO.

(December 11, 2006)



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New state health board takes shape


Gov. Rick Perry has appointed 15 people to create a health
partnership between the public and private sectors that will
work on medical records and health insurance. The Texas
Health Care System Integrity Authority, which Perry
announced in October, aims to create an electronic medical
records system, help consumers comparison shop for health
care and give small employers more health insurance choices.
The Texas Health Care System Integrity Partnership will
serve as an advisory group for that authority.

(December 11, 2006)



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Industry survey will begin expansion of CCHIT certification
process


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology has announced the release of a survey to help
determine what specialties, populations or settings will be
included in its expanded criteria within the next two years.

(December 11, 2007)



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RHIOs will lead next phase of NHIN program


The Department of Health and Human Services expects state
and regional health information exchanges (RHIOs) to play a
larger role in the next phase of the development of a
Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN), an official
said today. Dr. John Loonsk, director of the Office of
Interoperability and Standards in HHS’ Office of the
National Coordinator of Health Information Technology
(ONCHIT), said RHIOs and state-level exchanges will play
leadership roles in what his office has labeled the trial
implementation phase of the NHIN program.

(December 11, 2006)



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Life-or-death data


Your medical records can save your life, or they can almost
kill you. So the prospect of making them more easily
accessible is at once comforting and scary — and a new
effort to convert them into digital form will raise the
stakes on both counts. It’s not hard to understand why.
Suppose you’re on vacation and become so ill you have to go
to the hospital. Without your medical records, you could be
given a drug that interacts badly with one you’re already
taking. Now imagine the same scenario, only this time you
have access to all your medical and insurance records
electronically. The physician examines them and gives you an
appropriate drug. You recover nicely.

(December 11, 2006)



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Why The Wait For Electronic Medical Records


I spoke this week to the articulate and knowledgeable Dr.
Lynn Harold Vogel, CIO of the University of Texas’ MD
Anderson Cancer Center, about all the reasons why Americans
don’t have electronic medical records today, what the best
e-health record initiatives out there today are, and how his
hospital is building its own electronic records system and
working to improve the way it treats cancer.

(December 9, 2006)



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HHS to fund trial NHINs in 2007


Interim National Coordinator for Health Information
Technology Dr. Robert Kolodner has announced his office will
support trial implementations for the Nationwide Health
Information Network in the coming year. “The trial
implementations are a critical next step to move America
closer to realizing an interoperable Nationwide Health
Information Network,” Kolodner said in a press release
issued Friday. “By bringing together the significant
expertise and work achieved this year by the current efforts
with state and local health information exchanges, we can
begin to construct the ‘network of networks’ that will form
the basis of the Nationwide Health Information Network. ”

(December 8, 2006)



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Five major employers announce personal health record
initiative


Citing runaway healthcare costs and its negative impact on
the ability to compete globally, five major companies have
banded together to offer their employees a portable,
private, life-long personal health record. “It’s time for a
systemic transformation, and U.S. employers must lead,” said
Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel Corp. , of the initiative.
Intel, Wal-Mart, Pitney Bowes, British Petroleum America
Inc. and Applied Materials will finance and roll out
portable, private, lifetime personal health records to
approximately 2.5 million employees, their families and
retirees by mid next year.

(December 8, 2006)



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Health care technology summit set for January


Kentucky’s efforts to develop e-Health, a computerized
medical information network, will be the subject of a summit
in Louisville on Jan. 19. The Kentucky Cabinet for Health
and Family Services and the Kentucky e-Health Network Board
will sponsor the event, which aims to draw stakeholders in
the state’s health care, business, technology, policy and
academic communities. It will be held at the Louisville
Marriott Downtown. The goal of the summit is to discuss
Kentucky’s progress, opportunities and challenges in
developing and implementing e-Health, a technology that
state leaders say will improve patient privacy, reduce
medical errors and lower administrative costs.

(December 8, 2006)



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Dr. Clifton Lacy to Leave as President of RWJUH to Direct
Institute for Disaster and Terror Medicine


Robert Wood Johnson University
Hospital and Health System President and CEO Clifton R.
Lacy, M.D., today announced that he will leave the hospital
and health system leadership to focus full time on
developing and directing a new Institute for Disaster and
Terror Medicine at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.



(December 7, 2006)



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Study claims Americans believe PHRs will improve healthcare


Americans believe that electronic personal health records
are likely to increase the quality of healthcare, according
to a study released today by the Markle Foundation. The
study, conducted by the Lake Research Partners and American
Viewpoint, surveyed 1,003 Americans nationwide, November
11–15, on their opinions of healthcare information
technology, privacy issues, and the role government should
play in healthcare IT advancement.

(December 7, 2006)



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New Information Standards to Help Eliminate Doctor’s Office
Clipboard


CAQH announced today that U.S. healthcare providers are
now one step closer to eliminating their office insurance
clipboards. According to the nonprofit healthcare alliance,
administrative data communication rules created by its
Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange (CORE)
have been included in the Health Information Technology
Standards Panel (HITSP) Consumer Empowerment specifications
recommendation to the U. S. Department of Health and Human
Services.

(December 7, 2006)



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Public views EHRs as mixed blessing, survey finds


Americans are welcoming the introduction of e-health records
while continuing to worry that their privacy could be
compromised by unauthorized access to records systems,
according to a new national survey commissioned by the
Markle Foundation.

(December 7, 2006)



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VA awards $1B BPA to eight companies


The Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded blanket
purchase agreement contracts potentially worth $1 billion
over 10 years to eight companies that will support the
Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology
Architecture e-medical records system and other information
technology tasks.

(December 7, 2006)



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Improving health care: SIH launches plan for computerized
uninsured, underinsured patient registry


Southern Illinois Healthcare launched a project Wednesday
that could lead to a regional electronic medical records
system for those with chronic health conditions. At a press
conference, the nonprofit healthcare organization introduced
a plan to create a new computerized registry for such
patients who are underinsured or without insurance.

(December 7, 2006)



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Study: Electronic records up bone scans


 Adoption of electronic health records tripled the rate of osteoporosis
screenings among women at risk in a recent U.S. study. A
study by researchers at Geisinger Health System in
Pennsylvania found a greatly increased rate of screening
among women who were identified as needing a bone-density
scan via a search through the system’s electronic health
records.

(December 7, 2006)



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Nurses Play Strong Role in MSHA Health-IT Project


Nurses are assuming
greater roles in defining and implementing electronic
medical record (EMR) systems, such as an ongoing project at


Mountain States Health Alliance
(MSHA), an
integrated healthcare delivery system composed of 11
hospitals with 1,462 beds, including 21 primary/preventive
care centers and 13 outpatient care sites. When the decision
was made to move from paper to EMR in 2001, "caregivers were
involved in working to optimize complete and effective
communication by hardwiring safety and service excellence
into the system functionality to allow us to constantly
improve our patient care-giving ability," says Kathryn
Wilhoit, vice president and chief nursing executive of MSHA.


(December 7, 2006)



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Use of Mobile and Wireless Technology Jumps in Hospitals


Even though adoption of electronic health records (EHR) and
other clinical IT remains fairly anemic, at least one aspect
of health-IT has taken giant steps forward in the last few
years: the use of mobile and wireless technology where
choices are proliferating.

(December 7, 2006)



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Forecast: HHS to Spend $5 Billion on Technology in 2007


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will
probably spend more than $5 billion on 670 technology
initiatives in 2007, according to forecasts from a company
that helps businesses find federal contracts.

(December 6, 2006)



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Minnesota Department of Health Awards Grants to Expand
Development of Electronic Health Records


Electronic health records have become an important strategy
for improving health care quality and safety and reducing
costs. In response to Governor Pawlenty’s e-Health
initiative, the 2006 Minnesota Legislature appropriated $1.5
million to support the adoption of electronic health records
in rural and underserved areas of the state. Today, the
Minnesota Department of Health announced the communities
that will be receiving e-Health grants. “The governor and
Legislature wanted to make sure every person and community
in Minnesota benefit from the health information technology
that is available to improve health care,” said Minnesota
Commissioner of Health Dianne Mandernach. “These grants will
provide underserved communities with some of the resources
they need to adopt or expand e-health technology.”

(December 6, 2006)



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Industry leaders say HIT symbiotic with patient-centered
care


The federal government and other healthcare stakeholders are
increasingly interested in what is called “patient-centered
care” as a measure of quality of care. The two go
hand-in-hand, industry and government leaders say.

(December 6, 2006)



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A remedy for healthcare


In the wake of the midterm elections, lawmakers have
returned to Washington to complete the work of the 109th
session. We hope that this “lame-duck” session defies
convention and advances effective and necessary legislation.
A key priority of this session, as well as that of the 110th
Congress, should undoubtedly be healthcare… Health
information technology, such as electronic health records,
also helps us move toward a greater focus on wellness and
prevention, which undoubtedly saves lives and saves money.

(December 5, 2006)



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Vendor to offer web-based EHRs to docs in exchange for data


Soon there will be a way for physician practices to have
electronic health records at no cost, according to Ryan
Howard, CEO of Practice Fusion, Inc. , a San Francisco-based
company launched last August. Practice Fusion is poised to
announce that it will offer a free, “completely hosted,
community-based model” of online access to EHRs, to be
subsidized by the selling of de-identified data to insurance
groups, clinical researchers and pharmaceutical companies,
Howard said.

(December 5, 2006)



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Better Medicine Through Technology


Physician, heal thyself! much easier said, apparently, than
done. The U.S. health care industry has been slow to
transform itself, largely because doctors and hospital
administrators have been laggards in adopting new
information technology. Researchers, including those at the
Institute of Medicine, estimate that the use of health care
IT, such as electronic prescription systems and digitized
medical records, could prevent tens of thousands of deaths
and more than a million medical mistakes each year, and save
billions of dollars in costs related to inefficient and
redundant processes and medical complications. But for most
health care organizations, where paper still rules, these
changes aren’t cheap or easy. Researchers estimate that
fewer than a quarter of the nation’s hospitals have deployed
electronic medical record systems. President Bush has set
2014 as the deadline for the digitization of most Americans’
health records. Fortunately, there are exceptions. The
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, under CIO Dan
Drawbaugh, is among the most aggressive, having deployed
e-medical record systems in 18 of its 19 hospitals. In
addition, computerized physician order-entry systems and
clinical support tools are used in several of UPMC’s
hospitals, and it plans to extend that technology to most of
the others within three years.

(December 4, 2006)



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Schoen sees electronic medical records as good for country,
industry


The goal is for all Americans to have an electronic health
record by the year 2014, and Don Schoen, CEO of West Des
Moines-based MediNotes Corp., is excited to be at the
forefront of the effort. Schoen was recently elected
chairman of the Healthcare Information and Management
Systems Society Electronic Health Record Vendors
Association, a trade association of electric hospital
records vendors that joined together to push for accelerated
adoption of electronic health records in hospitals and
ambulatory care centers in the United States.

(December 3, 2006)



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Consumers don’t believe EHRs will improve care, report says


There is no public mandate for electronic health records
systems in the United States because most consumers aren’t
convinced that the technology will improve healthcare,
claims a new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers Health
Research Institute. The report, “The Top Seven Health
Industry Trends of ’07,” is based on an October 2006 survey
of 1,000 U.S. residents. The results reveal a significant
gap between consumer attitudes on major healthcare topics
and the perspectives of health industry insiders and
policymakers.


(December 1, 2006)



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HHS telehealth grantee initiates home monitoring study


Citizens Memorial Healthcare system in Bolivar, Mo. ,
announced Tuesday it will launch an informal study on
patient home telehealth monitoring to be funded by a
three-year $680,000 grant from the Department of Health and
Human Services. According to Denni McColm, chief information
officer at Citizen’s Memorial, the health system will use
the grant money to lease 40 “well@home” telehealth
monitoring devices from Patient Care Technologies Inc. , of
Atlanta. Patients will use the devices to daily check their
own pulse, blood sugar, electrocardiogram, respiration,
oxygen intake and weight. The information will be directly
monitored by doctors on Citizen’s “seamless” EHR system,
McColm said.

(December 1, 2006)



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RP firm fears digitization of US medical records


The move to use more electronic medical record (EMR) systems
in the United States is threatening to affect outsourced
medical transcription jobs in the Philippines, an executive
of a local medical transcription firm said. "EMR can
threaten the outsourced medical transcription business since
it is becoming integrated in hospital systems in the US," MS
Global Outsourcing Inc. president and chief executive
officer Malu Simeon-Florendo said in an interview. Because
of this trend, the local firm is also developing its own EMR
software, which it intends to sell abroad.

(December 1, 2006)



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HIE lessons of two states


Healthcare IT leaders from Florida and Tennessee are sharing
what they’ve learned about developing health information
exchanges with other states and regions. Representatives
from both states talked recently at a San Francisco forum
about the problems they have encountered and how they solved
them.

(December 1, 2006)



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U.S. lags behind in primary care IT, survey finds


The United States is well behind the rest of the industrial
world in IT implementation and other areas of primary care,
according to a Commonwealth Fund 2006 International Health
Policy Survey released last month. The findings of the
survey, which evaluated primary care systems in the United
States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and
the Netherlands, were presented at the Commonwealth Fund’s
International Symposium on Healthcare Policy in Washington.

(December 1, 2006)



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RHIOs Burdened by Nontechnical Barriers



Regional health information
organizations are cropping up nationwide, and these
burgeoning data exchange networks face a variety of
challenges as they establish themselves. Beyond the obvious
technical challenges such as systems interoperability, RHIOs
are dealing with a host of nontechnical issues that threaten
to hamper their progress. First Consulting Group recently
released a paper, called "Overcoming 10 Non-Technical
Challenges of RHIOs," in response to these issues.


(December 1, 2006)



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Campaign Launches Against UK Health Records Database


A national campaign on Wednesday was launched to
persuade people to refuse to have their medical information
entered into the United Kingdom’s National Health Service
electronic health record database.

(December 1, 2006)



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Opinion: Telemedicine in Indiana Could Improve Care


The implementation of existing telemedicine technology
could improve patient care in rural areas of Indiana.

(December 1, 2006)



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State, Federal Health IT Efforts Are Connected


Jodi Daniel, director of the Office of Policy and
Research at the Office of the National Coordinator for
Health IT, on Wednesday said that three HHS projects will
work to advance health IT privacy and that information will
be shared across all three groups.

(December 1, 2006)



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Computers Containing Patient Data Stolen in Colorado,
Indiana


The health information of more than 45,000 patients in
Colorado and Indiana has been compromised in two separate
security breaches that were disclosed this week… The data
do not appear to have been misused.

(December 1, 2006)



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Virginia Gov. Kaine Announces Health Care Initiative


Virginia Gov. Timothy M.
Kaine today signed an Executive Order that will improve and
promote transparency and accountability in health care. U.S.
Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt
participated in the governor’s news conference through a
video link from Washington.

Executive Order Number 43
promotes the continued shift
toward electronic health records, and encourages greater
transparency in the quality and quantity of information
available to consumers and others on health-care quality and
pricing issues. Quality measurements will be developed in
collaboration with similar initiatives in the private and
public sectors.


(December 1, 2006)



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Kentucky Health Data Exchange Expands


An electronic health record network in Louisville, Ky.,
will expand to enroll between 300,000 and 500,000 patients,
which should reduce the cost for each patient and make the
system more useful for researchers.

(December 1, 2006)



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November
2006





Federal and state HIT privacy efforts connected, says ONC


The various state and federal groups working on healthcare
IT privacy are “very linked and very complementary,”
according to Jodi Daniel, director of the Office of Policy
and Research, Office of the National Coordinator for Health
Information. At a Wednesday meeting of the National
Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, a public advisory
board to the Department of Health and Human Services, Daniel
outlined how the work underway by three HHS efforts will aid
in advancing HIT privacy.

(November 30, 2006)



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CCHIT to certify specialty-specific EHRs


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology announced Tuesday it will expand certification to
include electronic health record products specific to
medical specialties.

(November 29, 2006)



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It’s business as usual for nation’s interim healthcare IT
chief


The man in charge of
coordinating efforts to convert the nation’s paper-based
healthcare system to a digital one officially has until the
end of January on the job. In a recent interview with
Healthcare IT News
, Robert M. Kolodner, MD, said his
stint could be extended, but he declined to elaborate.


(November 27, 2006)



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State Alliance for e-Health names taskforces


The State Alliance for e-Health has determined the names and
focus areas of its first three taskforces that will meet
next February, according to Kathleen Nolan, health director
for the National Governors Association’s Center for Best
Practices and project head of the State Alliance. The
selection of the taskforces and their areas of focus follows
from a sense of urgency the State Alliance has to get the
entire project up and running, Nolan said. “We want to move
pretty quickly so we can kick this off strong and get this
thing moving,” Nolan said. “These taskforces will add a
strong foundation to address the topics identified by states
as important to healthcare IT.”

(November 27, 2006)



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Proponents of HIT legislation find hope in Democrats


Many industry experts
and legislative analysts expect a healthcare IT bill to pass
under the newly elected 110th Congress, according to an
informal survey conducted by Healthcare IT News. With
a slim-to-none chance of lame duck Congressional
reconciliation on the current House and Senate HIT bills by
the close of 2006, HIT proponents are turning their hopes to
the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) and what can be done in
2007 and beyond. The NDC is a moderate, pro-growth
congressional group co-chaired by Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA),
Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA), and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)
promoting economic growth through technology, science, and
research and development. According to Rep. Adam Smith, the
NDC leader on HIT issues, the NDC has built a reputation as
the “go-to” group in Congress on critical issues like HIT.


(November 21, 2006)



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CCHIT names trustees, moves toward nonprofit status


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology (CCHIT) announced Monday the establishment of a
new board of trustees, bringing it one step closer to
becoming a fully independent, nonprofit organization…
“CCHIT is under a contract with HHS and is required to
become a self-sustaining organization with a fiduciary board
at the end of its three year HHS funding period,” Reber
said. “Establishing a new trustee board is part of that
compliance.”


(November 21, 2006)



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National Library of Medicine Awards $75 Million for
Informatics Research Training


Donald A. B. Lindberg, MD, Director of the National Library
of Medicine (NLM), a part of the National Institutes of
Health (NIH), today announced that the NLM is awarding 18
five-year grants, totaling more than $75million, for
research training in biomedical informatics, the discipline
that seeks to apply computer and communications technology
to the field of health… “NLM’s informatics training
programs produce investigators trained in applying
biomedical computing to improve clinical medicine, basic
biomedical research, clinical and translational research,
public health, and other health-related areas,” said Dr.
Lindberg. “Such specialists are vital for research in such
key areas as the human genome, application of genomics to
treatment and diagnosis, and the use of electronic health
records to improve care and reduce error.”

(November 20, 2006)



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American College of Physicians to Offer Health Information
Technology Training Course


The American College of Physicians (ACP), announced today
that it will offer a health information technology (HIT)
training course in conjunction with the American Medical
Informatics Association (AMIA) and Oregon Health & Science
University (OHSU). The 15-week online curriculum includes a
day of in-person training to be held as a pre-session course
at ACP’s Internal Medicine 2007 meeting. The course will be
part of AMIA’s 10X10 program, which has the goal of training
10,000 health care professionals in applied health and
medical informatics by 2010.

(November 16, 2006)



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Deloitte Finds State Leadership And Sustainable Business
Models Are Vital For The Future Success Of Health
Information Exchanges


The Deloitte Center for
Health Solutions (the “Center”), a part of Deloitte & Touche
USA LLP, released two
point-of-view reports
 that provide insight into Health
Information Exchanges (HIEs) – multi-stakeholder
organizations that enable the secure exchange and use of
electronic health information.


(November 15, 2006)



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Epic responds to critics of electronic record installation


Following weeks of
blistering criticism of its electronic medical record system
and its ongoing installation at

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan
, Madison’s

Epic Systems Corp
. has joined the subsidiary of

Kaiser Permanente
in defending its product. Epic
Systems, a medical software developer, says it is very proud
of the Kaiser installation and its electronic records
system, which Kaiser has re-branded with the name KP
HealthConnect.


(November 15, 2006)



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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT: Prospects for Health IT Legislation in
2007 ‘Look Pretty Good,’ Rep. Kennedy Policy Adviser Says


"Prospects look pretty
good" for the 110th Congress to pass health IT legislation
in 2007, Michael Zamore, a policy adviser for Rep. Patrick
Kennedy (D-R.I.), said in an interview for an
iHealthBeat
special audio report.


(November 15, 2006)



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New eRx certification promotes pharmacy interoperability


SureScripts, the largest network provider of electronic
prescribing services in the United States, has announced
that it will grant a new certification status to electronic
medical record and e-prescribing products that meet or
exceed benchmarks for “live” customer deployments. The new
certification, called GoldRx, guarantees that an EMR or
e-prescribing product not only meets basic technical
capability standards, but also has a “proven track record”
of pharmacy interoperability.

(November 14, 2006)



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Problems abound for Kaiser e-health records management
system


An electronic health records management system being rolled
out by Kaiser Foundation Health Plan/Hospitals has been
nothing short of an IT project gone awry, according to
sources at the company and an internal report detailing
problems with the HealthConnect system. Questions about the
project arose last week at about the same time Cliff Dodd,
the company’s CIO, resigned. Dodd stepped down last Monday
after another Kaiser employee, Justen Deal, sent a memo to
every company worker warning of technological and financial
repercussions related to the rollout of the nearly $4
billion system from Epic Systems Corp.

(November 13, 2006)



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Giving health care the business


Pittsburgh center uses principles of case teams, data
measures and business process management to enhance complex
disease treatments.

(November 13, 2006)



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A new scheme for data sharing


Semantic interoperability isn’t a phrase that rolls off the
tongue, but health informatics experts believe the concept
has the potential to significantly improve communication
among health information systems. The task of harmonizing
disparate applications has been around for years, but
semantic interoperability aims to make the job easier. The
goal is to eliminate the language bottlenecks that arise
when systems that were never intended to talk to each other
attempt to do so.

(November 13, 2006)



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NGA chooses two governors to lead State Alliance for
e-Health


On Monday, the National Governors Association named the two
governors who will head up the newly formed State Alliance
for e-Health. Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and Vermont Gov.
Jim Douglas have been chosen to run the State Alliance
because of their proven initiative on e-Health issues within
their states, said Kathleen Nolan, head of the project and
health director at NGA’s Center for Best Practices.

(November 9, 2006)



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Head of Kaiser’s digital project quits


The executive overseeing Kaiser Permanente’s ambitious
$3-billion push toward computerizing the medical records of
its 8.6 million members resigned Tuesday, a sign of the
challenges facing the project. The resignation of J.
Clifford Dodd, a senior vice president and chief information
officer for Kaiser, came four days after another Kaiser
employee sent a scathing e-mail to most of the company’s
140,000 employees about his concerns over the high-profile
technology project, known as HealthConnect.

(November 8, 2006)



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Study reveals clinicians’ tangled web of communications


A new study out today shows that paper-based workflows and
the lack of standardized tools and processes hinders
physicians and nurses from having effective communication
with patients and colleagues. Clinicians are experimenting
with a wide variety of mobile devices including pagers, cell
phones, smartphones and VoIP phones, the study found.



(November 7, 2006)



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HHS seeks info on genomic testing and healthcare IT


The Department of Health and Human Services today released a
request for information from the private and public sectors
on how healthcare IT can advance the use of genomic testing
information to improve and personalize healthcare… HHS is
specifically interested in any plans organizations have
under way to use healthcare IT for storing or sharing
genetic information and how this information can be used to
make evidence-based care decisions.

(November 7, 2006)



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Health information management celebrates week, looks for
workers


The switch from paper to electronic health records will
help doctors, nurses and other medical staff make important
health care decisions on a real-time basis. But who ensures
the information is complete, accurate and kept confidential?
This is the role of the health information management
professional… "HIM is dedicated to the effective
management of patient information and healthcare data needed
to deliver quality treatment and care to the public," said
Kim Wells-Ball, Director of HIM/Privacy Officer for Barton
HealthCare System. "As the healthcare industry moves further
into the information age, the role of the health information
management professional is becoming even more critical. On
top of that, we have a severe shortage of personnel in this
part of the health care field," she said.

(November 6, 2006)



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Study shows slow progress toward Bush’s 2014 goal


Findings released last month from a first-ever comprehensive
study on the use of electronic health records in the United
States revealed that 24.9 percent of physicians use some
form of loosely defined electronic health record systems.
However, fewer than 10 percent employ what researchers
define as “a system most likely to benefit patient care.”
The 81-page report, “Health Information Technology in the
United States: The Information Base for Progress,” also
showed that only 5 percent of hospitals use computerized
physician order entry systems.

(November 1, 2006)



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IT among top topics at AHIMA, MGMA


Information technology was top of mind at two conferences
held by major industry organizations last month. The
American Health Information Management Association met in
Denver for its convention and exhibition Oct. 7-12. The
Medical Group Management Association met in Las Vegas for
its annual conference Oct. 22-25.

(November 1, 2006)



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AHIC begins setting goals for 2007


The American Health Information Community on Tuesday began
the work of establishing goals for 2007 aimed at helping the
healthcare industry adopt information technology. At the top
of the list were funding and privacy issues.

(November 1, 2006)



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California Hospital Wins Grant for Technology, Nurse
Training


The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in California on
Monday received a $4.3 million grant from the Gordon and
Betty Moore Foundation for bar coding and nurse training.

(November 1, 2006)



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Groups Raise Concerns Over Privacy of NHS Database


Civil liberty groups
on Wednesday urged patients in the United Kingdom to boycott
a new national health database, which will provide police
and security services with access to patients’ personal
health data, the Evening Standard reports.
Patients’ records automatically will be collected from
physicians and hospitals and uploaded to the new central
database. The records could include information about mental
illnesses, abortions, pregnancy, HIV status, drug history or
alcoholism
.

(November 1, 2006)



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Report Checks Progress on Network Recommendations


A progress report
examines action taken on the

14 recommendations
set last year by the Commission on
Systemic Interoperability to establish a national health
information network
.

(November 1, 2006)



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October
2006





Federal panel issues NHIN guidelines


A federal advisory panel to the Department of Health and
Human Services unanimously approved today a draft of minimum
requirements for participation in the Nationwide Health
Information Network. According to Simon Cohn, MD, chair of
the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics’
Workgroup on National Information Infrastructure, the
37-page draft should help HHS address healthcare IT policy
issues.

(October 30, 2006)



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MGMA recap: IT a major concern


While healthcare IT was not the sole focus of the 2006
Medical Group Management Association annual conference, held
here October 22-25, numerous sessions featured IT-related
topics, and MGMA President and CEO William F. Jessee, MD,
addressed multiple IT issues at a conference press luncheon.

(October 27, 2006)



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NEWS RELEASE: HHS Officially Recognizes Certification Body
to Evaluate Electronic Health Records


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology (CCHIT) is the first group to be designated a
Recognized Certification Body (RCB), HHS Secretary Mike
Leavitt announced today. An RCB’s impartial seal of approval
will accelerate adoption of health IT products by removing
uncertainty about the technical capabilities of the
products, and thereby limiting the risk associated with
investing in health IT for health care providers. “Broad
adoption of health information technology that is
interoperable is absolutely crucial to providing patients
with better care, at lower cost, and with less hassle,”
Secretary Leavitt said. “I applaud the CCHIT for meeting the
requirements to become a Recognized Certification Body and
for their efforts to help bring the benefits of health IT
within reach of consumers.”

(October 26, 2006)



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After Kolodner, then what?


With Robert Kolodner himself stating he has roughly two
months left of his interim tenure as leader of the Office of
the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology,
Washington insiders are abuzz about who might be in line to
succeed him.

(October 26, 2006)



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ONC to help state and federal advisory panels collaborate


The Office of the National Coordinator for Health
Information Technology in its role as overseer plans to
ensure crossover issues are discussed and recommendations
are shared between the newly formed State Alliance for
e-Health and the federal advisory group, the American
Healthcare Information Community. Jodi Daniel, director of
the Office of Policy and Research at ONC, anticipates that
issues of importance to both the federal and state advisory
groups will arise… The State Alliance is designed to be a
consensus body to address state-level challenges, state
licensure and privacy laws and other state issues related to
electronic health record data exchange. It will particularly
focus on issues outside the federal government’s
jurisdiction, Daniel said.

(October 25, 2006)



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SPECIAL AUDIO REPORT: CalRHIO Summit Examines IT Efforts


Stakeholders at the California Regional Health
Information Organization summit on Oct. 20 – the last
scheduled meeting with the organization’s initial grant –
discussed recommendations for advancing health IT in
California, including the possibility of designating a
health IT "czar" for the state and the search for
sustainable funding for projects.

(October 25, 2006)



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Second round of CCHIT certifications revs industry


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology’s second batch of certified ambulatory electronic
health records products announced Oct. 23 was met with
accolades, questions – and also some warnings by vendors…
Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt, at an
Oct. 18 national summit hosted by the National Institute of
Standards and Technology, called CCHIT certification one of
the “cornerstones” for propelling HIT transformation in this
country. “Doctors all over the U.S. are prepared to adopt
EHR systems, but they can only afford to adopt it one time,
so they are looking for certified systems.”


(October 24, 2006)



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Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative Selects Wellogic to
Build Health Information Exchange Infrastructure


The Massachusetts eHealth

Collaborative (MAeHC) has selected Wellogic as its
technology vendor to build a health information exchange
connecting three hospitals and more than 100 physician
practices, as well as reference labs, imaging centers,
pharmacies, and other healthcare service providers and
trading partners. Development of this exchange utility marks
the second phase of MAeHC’s charter to bring together the
state’s major healthcare stakeholders for the purpose of
establishing an interoperable electronic health record (EHR)
system that will enhance the quality, efficiency and safety
of care in Massachusetts.

(October 18, 2006)



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World of Health IT Conference Is Huge Hit with EMEA Region


The conference brought together the health IT industry in
the EMEA region to focus on and discuss the benefits and
value of technology in healthcare. Close to 2,000 people
attended the first World of Health IT Conference and
Exhibition held in Geneva, Switzerland, from Oct. 10-13. The
event drew speakers, attendees and exhibitors from across
Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) including places
as diverse as Andorra and Azerbaijan, Iceland and Israel and
Saudi Arabia and Serbia-Montenegro. The main organizers of
this event include the Healthcare Information and Management
Systems Society (HIMSS), the European Commission (EC) and
the World Health Organization (WHO).

(October 17, 2006)



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Man pleads guilty to hacking organization’s Web site


A North Carolina man pleaded guilty in federal court Monday
to charges that he hacked into membership information on the
American College of Physicians’ Web site. William Bailey Jr.
of Charlotte illegally downloaded information on 80,000
members of the Philadelphia-based professional society from
its Web site, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia
said.

(October 16, 2006)



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ABCNews Begins ‘Prescription for Change’ Series, Including
Reports on Health IT


ABCNews’ "World
News Tonight
" on Sunday in the first segment of its
weeklong "Prescription for Change" series examined some
shortcomings in the U.S. health care system.


(October 16, 2006)



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2006 HIMSS Davies Awards Recognize Excellence in EMR-EHR
Implementation


As the benefits of digital versus paper records dominate the
focus of improving the delivery of healthcare, the
Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
(HIMSS) announced the recipients of the 2006 Nicholas E.
Davies Awards of Excellence in the Organizational,
Ambulatory and Public Health categories. The Davies Awards
recognize excellence in the implementation and use of health
information technology (IT) for healthcare organizations,
private practices and public health systems.

(October 13, 2006)



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Geisinger and IBM collaborate on new IT infrastructure


Geisinger Health System and IBM will collaborate on the
development of a data-mining project that will draw on
information gleaned from Geisinger’s electronic health
record system to identify clinical trends and best practices
in order to improve patient outcomes.

(October 13, 2006)



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Telehealth positioned to advance in Canada


Patients in remote and rural communities could have better
access to healthcare thanks to Telehealth development — a
primary focus for Canada’s electronic health record catalyst
and Canada’s premier Telehealth organization. Canada Health
Infoway (Infoway) and the Canadian Society of Telehealth
(CST) are announcing plans to work together to advance
Telehealth — defined as healthcare practiced at a distance.

(October 13, 2006)



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HRSA contracts with SAIC for IT support


Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) has
been awarded a 5-year contract to provide IT support to the
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The
contract is estimated at $33.9 million and will continue a
working relationship with HRSA that began in 1998. Under the
contract, SAIC will lead a team that will develop web and
database applications for HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health
Bureau, HIV/AIDS Bureau, and Bureau of Health Professions.
The support is intended to provide a framework for grantees
to report to HRSA on their performance. Additionally, the
database will be used to gather and analyze outcomes and
data accumulated under the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS
Resource Emergency (CARE) Act. The CARE Act addresses the
unmet health needs of persons living with HIV.

(October 12, 2006)



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Electronic Network to Pool Information About H.I.V.


To help determine the best therapies for patients with
H.I.V., seven medical centers around the country will create
the first electronic network to pool information about such
care through a federal grant being announced today.

(October 10, 2006)



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Brailer urges AHIMA members to safeguard data that matters


The nation’s former healthcare IT chief urged healthcare
information professionals gathered here for their annual
meeting to “continue to lead” and to make their efforts
“larger, louder and faster.” “You are at a flexion point,”
David J. Brailer, MD, told an audience of hundreds of
American Health Information Management Association members,
who often refer to themselves as coders. About 4,000 of them
were registered for this year’s conference and exhibition.
Brailer recognized the group’s unique position as the
healthcare industry moves toward adopting more information
technology. Some see the turn towards technology as “perhaps
the end of health information management as we see it,”
Brailer said. He acknowledged that it “could go many ways.”
He also noted that technology alone could not promise an
improved healthcare system. “It’s not that our efforts in
technology are wrong or misplaced,” he said. But we need
more than electronics.” What is important is that clinicians
have information provided to them that will enable them to
make the right decisions. There is no technology that can
automatically guarantee that, he said.

(October 9, 2006)



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AHIMA kicks off go-getter agenda


The American Health Information Management Association’s
78th annual convention kicked off Monday with an address
from AHIMA President Jill Callahan Dennis, who outlined an
ambitious to-do list for the 50,0000-member organization…
Just prior to the convention, the organization released a
survey that showed health information management
professionals have a positive impact on the implementation
of electronic health records. “This study confirms the
benefits that HIM professionals bring to EHR
implementations,” said AHIMA CEO Linda Kloss. “It also
points to areas where HIM professionals have the opportunity
for greater impact.”

(October 9, 2006)



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Hamot Medical Center Selects Allscripts Electronic Health
Record for Pennsylvania Physician Network


Allscripts (Nasdaq: MDRX), the leading provider of clinical
software, connectivity and information solutions that
physicians use to improve healthcare, today announced that
Hamot Medical Center has selected the TouchWorks(TM)
Electronic Health Record from Allscripts to connect and
automate 50

physicians in 16 practices across the Erie region. "The
Electronic Health Record is a powerful tool to improve the
quality of care and practice efficiency while enhancing
patient satisfaction," said Jim Reichert, M.D., Ph.D.,
Physician Leader of the Clinical Information Systems
Department at Hamot Medical Center. "With Allscripts, our
patients

will receive better care and we’re confident that they’ll
recognize and appreciate the difference." Hamot Medical
Center, a 343-bed acute care facility that is part of the
Hamot Health Foundation, purchased TouchWorks for its
fully-owned physician group, the Hamot Primary Care Network.
Together, the groups serve more than 1 million patients in
northwestern Pennsylvania, western New York and

eastern Ohio.

(October 5, 2006)



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Memphis health information exchange set to expand


The MidSouth eHealth Alliance will add a third local
emergency department to its list of healthcare data users in
mid November. The not-for-profit healthcare information
exchange demonstration project will expand thanks to a
combination of Vanderbilt University-developed technology
and policies modeled after the Markle Foundation’s
Connecting for Health Common Framework. “Policy and
technology go hand in hand,” said Mark Frisse, MD, Accenture
Professor of biomedical informatics and director of regional
informatics programs at Vanderbilt University. “You can’t
think through technology until you understand policy.” “The
Connecting for Health’s policy framework is an actionable
set of documents for better patient care,” said Frisse.
“This work is essential reading for any groups desiring to
exchange personal health information across traditional
boundaries.”

(October 4, 2006)



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Mississippi Hospitals Use IT To Improve Care


Medical facilities in Mississippi are adopting
computerized systems to fill prescriptions, schedule tests,
view electronic health records and complete other
time-consuming tasks.

(October 3, 2006)



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Physicians Reluctant To Provide Care Via E-Mail


Physicians are reluctant to communicate with patients via
e-mail because they are not paid for their time, and they
are concerned about increasing their workload.

(October 3, 2006)



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Health IT Legislation Fails To Pass Before Congressional
Recess


Congress failed to pass compromise health IT legislation
before adjourning last week for recess.

(October 3, 2006)



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Pitt, CMU, RAND to partner on grant


The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University and
the Urban League of Pittsburgh will collaborate on a
transformation of clinical research to enhance patient care,
it was announced Tuesday. CMU and the Urban League, as well
as the RAND Corp., and the Intel Research Pittsburgh Lab,
are partners to the University of Pittsburgh’s grant of
$83.5 million over five years from the National Institutes
of Health, to establish the Clinical and Translational
Science Institute (CTSI). CTSI is aimed at transforming how
clinical and translational research is conducted so that
promising treatments can be more readily available to
patients.

(October 3, 2006)



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N.Y. health care reform to get $1.5B in federal funding


New York state’s plan to restructure its health care system
has gotten a $1.5 billion shot in the arm. Gov. George
Pataki announced that the federal Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services has approved the state’s request for a
waiver, which will provide up to $1.5 billion in federal
funding to be invested in the State’s health care reform
initiatives… Included in the state’s program will be the
increased use of e-prescribing, electronic medical records
and regional health information organizations like The
Health Information Exchange of New York, a network formed by
Iroquois Healthcare Alliance, a Clifton Park group of 59
upstate hospitals, and the New York Health Plan Association,
the Albany group representing the state’s health insurers.
The state’s plan also calls for the expanded use of
ambulatory and primary care services.

(October 3, 2006)



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Future of Misys in doubt


The future of Misys is up in the air this week following
reports that the British-based healthcare and financial
software firm has ended its search for a buyer and reached
agreement with Chief Executive Kevin Lomax to allow him to
resign immediately. The company’s stock dropped 18 percent
Monday following the announcement of Lomax’s resignation.

(October 3, 2006)



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NJHA Electronic Record Task Force Starts Fall Agenda


The NJHA Electronic Medical Record – Electronic Health
Record Task Force returned from a summer break last week to
start working on its fall agenda. The task force reviewed
and discussed the EMR-EHR survey information that was
collected in July. According to Joseph Sullivan, task force
co-chair and senior vice president/chief information officer
of Saint Barnabas Health Care System, “It’s encouraging to
see the number of clinical systems currently being
implemented or planned for implementation at New Jersey
hospitals over the next 12-18 months, and the overwhelming
interest in sharing electronic medical record information
among New Jersey providers.”

(October 2, 2006)



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VA official takes IT lead


Veterans Administration executive Robert M. Kolodner, MD, is
stepping up as the nation’s interim healthcare IT chief.
Industry leaders are hailing the appointment of Kolodner,
and expect the now-former chief health informatics officer
for the Department of Veterans Affairs to pick up where
David J. Brailer, MD, ended when he resigned the post of
National Coordinator of Health Information Technology last
May after two years on the job.

(October 1, 2006)



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HIMSS opens Brussels office


The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
has opened a new office in Brussels, Belgium, as part of its
initiative to expand its global reach. According to HIMSS
officials, the new HIMSS branch is focused on bringing
together healthcare professionals in Europe, the Middle East
and Africa, or EMEA, who share the common goal of improving
the delivery of healthcare through information technology
and management systems.

(October 1, 2006)



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ELINCS Specification


The EHR-Lab Interoperability and Connectivity Specification
(ELINCS) project published ELINCS version 1.0 in July
2005… ELINCS v1.1 was published in October 2006 as a minor
update to v1.0… A draft of ELINCS version 2.0, issued in
February 2006, is provided below for review.

(October 1, 2006)



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September
2006





HIT bill passage this year seen as unlikely


Congress went home last week before agreeing on language
that would reconcile House bill 4157, the Health Information
Technology Promotion Act, and Senate bill 1418, the Wired
for Healthcare Quality Act. The bill still could pass during
a lame duck session before the end of the year, say sources
close to the issue. This would be good news to Justin T.
Barnes, vice president of marketing and government affairs
at Greenway Medical Technology, who would like to see the
bill pass. “The underpinning of such a law is that it could
save lives and contain costs by eliminating duplication of
medical testing,” Barnes said. Barnes has testified before
Congress on healthcare IT three times and has helped to
craft the language for the proposed legislation.

(September 29, 2006)



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CCHIT updates status of EHR certification criteria


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology, or CCHIT, is finalizing its 2007 ambulatory
electronic health records (EHRs) certification criteria and
is preparing to publish its proposed inpatient EHR
certification criteria, said CCHIT Executive Director Alicia
Ray during a Town Call teleconference Wednesday.

(September 28, 2006)



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Intel unveils plans to take technology to the bedside


Intel unveiled plans Wednesday for a new mobile technology
platform designed to improve patient safety and make work
easier for nurses and doctors. The computer chip maker is
teaming up with Austin, Texas-based Motion Computing to
offer slates that clinicians can use at the bedside to
record vital signs, medication and progress notes. The
slates, called mobile clinical assistants, will be available
during the first half of 2007, according to Intel.

(September 28, 2006)



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Interoperable health records key to drug safety


The Institute of Medicine’s Future of Drug Safety report,
released earlier this month called for a broad range of
recommendations spanning the monitoring, evaluation,
improvement and insurance of drug safety. In his praise of
the IOM report, Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike
Leavitt called on Congress to ensure that health information
technology legislation support and emphasize the importance
of interoperable health records.

(September 27, 2006)



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SureScripts Announces First Collaborations With Payer
Community


SureScripts today announced a series of collaborations with
members of the payer community as part of its rollout of new
services in 2006. MemberHealth, National Medical Health Card
Systems (NMHC) and RxAmerica have signed agreements that
will allow physicians using a SureScripts Certified
Solution™ to access information from each regarding their
patient’s formulary, eligibility and medication history —
in real time, during a patient’s visit.

(September 27, 2006)



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IOM report presses Medicare, Medicaid to adopt P4P


The Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services should gradually
implement pay for performance to help improve healthcare
quality for the 42 million Medicare beneficiaries in this
country, according to an Institute of Medicine report
released last week. The healthcare industry praised the
recommendation and IOM report, “Rewarding Provider
Performance: Aligning Incentives in Medicare,” which looked
at the pros and cons of implementing a pay-for-performance
program within Medicare.

(September 26, 2006)



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Survey shows increase in health information exchanges


The number of health information exchanges in the United
States has increased over the past year, and more of the
organizations are exchanging clinical data, according to
survey results released Monday at the Health Information
Technology Summit. Janet Marchibroda, executive director of
the eHealth Initiative, said the “Third Annual Survey of
Health Information Exchange at the State, Regional and
Community Levels” presents an optimistic assessment of
progress.

(September 26, 2006)



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Kolodner, McClellan stress quality


The federal government isn’t interested in paying more for
healthcare information technology for its own sake, warned
two of the administration’s highest-ranking healthcare
officials on Monday. However, both outgoing Medicare
administrator Mark McClellan and newly named interim
healthcare IT director Robert Kolodner said HIT is central
to what the government will pay for – improved outcomes and
better overall healthcare quality. “My main focus is how do
we improve quality and reduce costs for our beneficiaries,”
McClellan told attendees at the Third Health Information
Technology Summit. “Effective healthcare IT is an essential
part of that.”

(September 25, 2006)



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Kennedy bill calls for PHR ‘incentive fund’


Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D – R.I. ) plans to introduce
legislation that would create incentives for physicians to
encourage patients to use personal health records, or PHRs.
Michael Zamore, a policy adviser for Rep. Kennedy, will
speak about the proposed legislation on Tuesday at the Third
Health Information Technology Summit in Washington. “We’re
trying to come up with a way to jumpstart the use of
personal health records,” said Zamore. “PHRs are a great
tool for communication between patients and physicians, and
they cost relatively little to implement. But not enough
people use them, and the Congressman wants to do something
to change that.”

(September 25, 2006)



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What’s Really Propping Up The Economy


If you really want to understand what makes the U.S. economy
tick these days, don’t go to Silicon Valley, Wall Street, or
Washington. Just take a short trip to your local hospital.
Park where you don’t block the ambulances, and watch the
unending flow of doctors, nurses, technicians, and support
personnel. You’ll have a front-row seat at the health-care
economy.

(September 25, 2006)



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Few Patients Use or Have Access to Online Services for
Communicating with their Doctors, but Most Would Like To


The latest Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive
Health-Care Poll reveals that the medical profession is
lagging behind other service sectors and professions in its
use of Internet-based solutions to communicate with and
manage customer information — in this case, patients and
their medical information. Patients would like to see
medicine move in this direction, and most adults say that
they would like to have access to electronic medical records
and other electronic means of communicating and transferring
medical information.

(September 22, 2006)



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Health record banking coalition in the works, Yasnoff says


When William Yasnoff, MD, PhD, convened a stakeholders
meeting in earlier this month, he was hoping to found a
Health Record Banking Association. Instead, attendees,
comprising community and consumer groups and healthcare IT
vendors, wanted to bring more stakeholders to the table to
develop a larger group. The Health Record Banking Coalition
was formed “to assist stakeholders in the promotion of
community repositories of health records to improve the
safety and efficiency of patient care.”

(September 21, 2006)



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U.S. Health-Care System Scores a D for Quality


The American health-care system falls short of what’s
available in other developed countries, a new report claims.
After measuring 37 areas of quality, the United States only
garnered a score of 66 out of 100, according to a report
issued Wednesday by the Commonwealth Fund. The report was
also published online Wednesday in the journal Health
Affairs
. Despite spending the most on health care of any
of the countries examined, the United States often ranked
below Iceland, France, Japan, Italy, Sweden and many others,
according to the report. Moreover, health care varied
dramatically from state to state, and from hospital to
hospital. "The U.S. spends 16 percent of its gross domestic
product on health care," Commonwealth Fund President Karen
Davis said during a press conference announcing the results.
"That’s more than twice the average of industrialized
nations."

(September 20, 2006)



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Conferences mark growing interest in European healthcare IT
efforts


The European Union is poised to accelerate national e-health
initiatives and lay the groundwork for a pan-European
network. That’s the headline Renata Bushko, a healthcare
futurist and director for the Future of Health Technology
Institute, will deliver at the two-day 11th Annual Future of
Health Technology Summit which kicks off Monday, Sept. 25.

(September 18, 2006)



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CliniComp’s Essentris System Implemented at UCLA’s Stewart
and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital


CliniComp, Intl., a recognized leader of advanced,
hospital-wide clinical information systems, has completed a
three-part installation of its Essentris™ clinical
information system at Stewart and Lynda Resnick
Neuropsychiatric Hospital (NPH) at UCLA. The system has gone
live in three units — Pediatric, Adult and Partial
Hospitalization — supporting clinicians and nurses with
electronic documentation, which has replaced paper charting.

(September 14, 2006)



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Canadian Standards Association and Canada Health Infoway
team up for the advancement of international health
information technology standards


Canada Health Infoway and Canadian Standards Association
(CSA) today officially announced a Memorandum of
Understanding to work together for the advancement of health
information technology standards. These health information
standards are critical to helping ensure that authorized
healthcare providers can electronically share a patient’s
medical information in order to provide better healthcare
services.

(September 14, 2006)



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ACS Expands Healthcare Contract With State of Missouri


Affiliated Computer
Services, Inc. (NYSE: ACS), a premier provider of business
process outsourcing and information technology solutions,
announced today that it has expanded its agreement with the
State of Missouri to provide electronic health records. The
value of the contract will be based upon the number of
providers enrolled in the program. Under terms of the
agreement, ACS will provide an innovative electronic health
record program, in addition to other projects, throughout
the course of the year. Over 700 Missouri physicians have
enrolled in the program to date, which features cutting edge
technology that will allow the Medicaid program and its
participating providers to communicate critical information
to improve and expedite service to at-risk patients.

(September 13, 2006)



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Report praises state-level health information exchange
initiatives


State-level health information exchange, or HIE, initiatives
are a critical component to advancing a nationwide health
information network, according to a report released Tuesday.
The report, conducted by the Foundation of Research and
Education, or FORE, of the American Health Information
Management Association, or AHIMA, provides a framework and
resources for communities in the early stages of HIE
development.

(September 13, 2006)



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Health IT at the Crossroads


The roaring momentum of health IT that so captivated all of
us two years ago has all but come to a crawl. It is
increasingly clear that the nation is at a crossroads in
achieving functioning health IT, despite regional health
information organizations and the national health
information network; despite HHS’ publication of final rules
creating fraud and abuse exceptions and safe harbors to
permit the provision of HIT to physicians by hospitals and
medical groups; despite a recent executive order directing
federal health care agencies to promote HIT; despite efforts
by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. The
vacuum of national leadership, miserly funding and uncertain
direction has permitted a growing degree of local and
regional infighting and the politicization of an issue that
has been historically nonpartisan.

(September 13, 2006)



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Recognizing the Synergy and Strength of Collaboration, HIMSS
and eHealth Initiative Align on Health Information Exchange
(HIE) and RHIO Initiatives


As the movement of health information exchange (HIE)
initiatives and regional health information organizations
(RHIOs) continues to grow in states and communities across
the country in support of the Administration’s focus on a
"Nationwide Health Information Network" or "NHIN", the
eHealth Initiative (eHI) and Healthcare Information and
Management Systems Society (HIMSS) announced today a
collaborative agreement that will strengthen this movement,
offering complimentary education programs, tools and
resources to state, regional and community leaders engaged
in health information exchange and building RHIOs.

(September 13, 2006)



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House, Senate Have Yet To Reconcile IT Bills


Negotiations to reconcile House and Senate versions of
legislation that would promote the implementation of health
care IT have not progressed, and prospects for passage of a
final bill prior to the midterm elections are uncertain,
according to congressional aides.

(September 12, 2006)



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State reports on tap for AHIC meeting Tuesday


Reports from three members of the State Health Information
Exchange Panel and an update on the Health IT Adoption
Initiative top the agenda for Tuesday’s American Health
Information Community meeting. The meeting will begin at
8:30 a.m. in Room 800 of the U.S. Department of Human
Services’ Hubert H. Humphrey Building with remarks from AHIC
chairman Michael O. Leavitt and David J. Brailer, former
National Health Information Technology Coordinator.

(September 11, 2006)



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Group representing health insurers to form Albany area
organization


The Health Information Exchange of New York has selected a
California company to provide the foundation for an Albany,
N.Y.-area regional health information organization, or RHIO.
Health Information Exchange of New York, known as HIXNY, and
First Consulting Group (Nasdaq: FCGI) of Long Beach signed a
letter of intent Sept. 7 calling for the non-profit
enterprise to use First Consulting’s FirstGateways(TM)
platform as the basis for the network. The proposed RHIO
would link area hospitals, physician groups and insurers,
allowing them to share electronic patient records. The goal
is to reduce errors, prevent duplication of tests and
procedures, and improve overall efficiency, thus trimming
costs and improving the quality of care.

(September 7, 2006)



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Industry experts credit Medicare chief McClellan for
advancing healthcare IT


As Mark McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare
and Medicaid Services, prepares to leave his post,
healthcare IT experts give him high marks for championing
information technology. McClellan "has been a leading voice
on the important role that health information technology and
management systems can have in transforming the delivery of
healthcare in the United States," said Tom Leary, director
of federal affairs for the Healthcare Information and
Management Systems Society.

(September 7, 2006)



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Personal health records pull patient’s history into one file


The PHR is the latest addition to the alphabet soup that
is health care, and it may actually do a body good. EHRs —
electronic health records — were the focus in the health
information-technology industry when President Bush began
pushing for standards to facilitate the sharing of health
records across the nation. But that was two years ago. Now,
personal health records are the order of the day. "The PHR
movement is beginning to take solid root," said Donald Mon,
a vice president at the American Health Information
Management Association. A personal health record helps solve
a big problem: Even if medical facilities create electronic
health records, "a consumer’s health information is still
going to be distributed across many health records," Mon
said. "The PHR is the one place where you can accumulate all
your health information in a consistent way to reflect your
lifetime of care."

(September 6, 2006)



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Healthcare IT leaders: GAO criticism of NHIN efforts ‘on
target’


Industry leaders agree with the Sept. 1 Government
Accountability Office report critical of efforts to create a
nationwide healthcare information network. “The GAO is on
target with its comments,” said Tom Leary, director of
federal affairs for the Health Information Management
Systems Society.

(September 6, 2006)



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Lawmakers Must Combine Health IT Bills


Congress has introduced more than 50 bills related to
health IT and personal health records, but health IT
advocates say that only one bill could possibly become law.

(September 5, 2006)



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Study: Medical Technology Extends Life Expectancy


A study published in the current issue of the New England
Journal of Medicine finds that investments in medical
technologies, including health IT, over the last 40 years
have extended the life expectancy of U.S. residents by
nearly seven years.

(September 5, 2006)



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VA Health System Has Become a Health IT Leader


The Department of Veterans Affairs Health System for six
straight years has scored higher than private facilities on
the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction
Index, based on patient surveys regarding the quality of
care received.

(September 5, 2006)



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Report Calls for NHIN Plans, Goals


A Government Accountability Office report finds that
efforts to develop a nationwide health care information
network lack clear objectives and coordination.

(September 5, 2006)



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Experts: Technology study will strengthen healthcare debate


A study that appears in the current issue of the New England
Journal of Medicine concludes that 40 years of investments
in medical technologies, including healthcare information
technology, has paid off for Americans in extending life
expectancy by nearly 7 years. But each extra year of life
Americans have gained over the last four decades costs an
average of nearly $20,000.

(September 1, 2006)



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RHIOs target security issues


Privacy and security issues remain in the spotlight
throughout healthcare. Just recently data breaches from a
hospital system and a medical practice were reported in the
media, sparking fears that this turn of events might slow
down the passage of health information technology bills in
Congress and progress made by regional health information
organizations and health information exchanges.

(September 1, 2006)



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Report: Poor data stymies quality care


New research concludes that the inability to gather the
right information thwarts pay-for-performance initiatives,
limiting their ability to contribute to creating a better
healthcare system. Some of the pay-for-performance efforts,
which the study also refers to as “value-based purchasing,”
leave many employers – and other health plan purchasers –
cold, the report suggests. The Deloitte Center for Health
Solutions teamed up with The ERISA Industry Committee to
conduct the research.

(September 1, 2006)



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Frist predicts HIT passage in September


Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn. ) predicted last
month that Congress will pass healthcare IT legislation when
members return from the August recess. “I’m confident we’ll
use the limited time remaining after the August recess
efficiently and productively. With continued hard work and
determination, we will keep the ball moving forward,” he
said. Last month, the House passed the Health Information
Technology Promotion Act of 2006 (H.R. 4157), which codifies
the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information
Technology within the Department of Health and Human
Services. It establishes a committee to make recommendations
on national standards for medical data storage and develop a
permanent structure to govern national interoperability
standards.

(September 1, 2006)



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AHIC to put IT power behind performance measures


Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt has
called on a federal panel to find the best way to accurately
– and electronically – measure patient care quality.

Healthcare leaders all seem to favor measuring the quality
of patient care, but there is no good way to do so, Leavitt
said at the American Health Information Community meeting
last month. “We’re all talking a good game, but we don’t
have the capacity to actually measure (quality),” Leavitt
said.

(September 1, 2006)



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Health IT Bill: Boon or Boondoggle?


A bill pending in Congress would create a framework for a
national interoperable network for storage and transmission
of individual health care records. The measure has sparked
debate as to whether it could significantly cut the
industry’s enormous administrative costs. The Health
Information Technology Promotion Act of 2006 (H.R. 4157)
passed the House at the end of July. At press time, the U.S.
Senate was considering the bill.

(September 1, 2006)



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CMS proposes new oversight, enhancements to QIO program


Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt has
issued a report to Congress outlining plans to boost the
Medicare Quality Improvement Organization program. Leavitt’s
report responds to criticisms and recommendations leveled in
a series of studies from the Institute of Medicine, and
reiterates the role he believes healthcare information
technology can play in improving care for Medicare
beneficiaries.

(September 1, 2006)



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August 2006





Home Healthcare Leader Selects McKesson to Create Paperless
Environment


Addus HealthCare, one of the largest home healthcare
agencies in the United States, has selected McKesson’s
Horizon Homecare™ solution in a two-phase initiative to
automate and standardize clinical processes across 90
services branches in 12 states. Once complete, the
initiative is expected to fully support Addus’ goal to
create a paperless environment to drive enhanced operational
efficiency, standardized care processes, and improved
patient outcomes.

(August 29, 2006)



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Defense objects to adopting VA health records system


Some members of Congress have increased their efforts to
persuade the Defense Department to adopt the Department of
Veterans Affairs’ electronic health records system — or
develop a DOD version using the same software — after a top
Pentagon official said the department doesn’t believe the
VA’s system would meet DOD’s needs.

(August 28, 2006)



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Federal, State Officials Prescribing Digital Health Care
Records


From the San Diego County Medical Society to the president
of the United States, a flurry of steps are being taken by
officials toward data sharing systems for the health care
industry. Last week, information officers from local
hospitals and officials from the San Diego County Medical
Society met with Cindy Ehnes, director of the California
Department of Managed Care, which oversees the state’s HMOs,
to tell her of local efforts to create an electronic
Regional Health Information Organization. The system would
link health records among medical professionals. Medical
Society President Tom Gehring said his group did not make
any official requests to Ehnes and called the meeting a
“fact-finding session.” “We want to let her know how one
county has grappled with this problem,” Gehring said. “So
she can go back to Sacramento and use this as she formulates
policy.”

(August 28, 2006)



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Military Health System Uses Technology To Boost Quality


In concert with a presidential order to improve federal
agency-managed or -sponsored health care, the Defense
Department has embraced technology to boost the quality of
military health care, improve medical information flow and
monitor costs, a senior Defense Department official said
here Aug. 24.

(August 26, 2006)



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Health Data Bottleneck


William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for
health affairs, took time during an Aug. 23 teleconference
with journalists to tout his department’s ability to
transfer electronically the medical records of separating
service members to the Department of Veterans Affairs. In
doing so, Winkenwerder ignored a rising chorus of critics
who say AHLTA, the Department of Defense’s digitalized
medical record system, is a problem for the VA and for
veterans because, in fact, it doesn’t allow electronic
record transfers outside the military network.

(August 25, 2006)



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Chaos and Creation in the Health IT Market


A spate of new analyst reports from respected research
houses such as Datamonitor, Forrester and IDC’s Health
Industry Insights all point to double-digit growth for
health care IT. While each firm’s forecast is based on
varying assumptions, one major factor appears in each
report: President Bush’s federal mandate to create
electronic health records for all Americans by 2014.

(August 25, 2006)



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Louisville health info exchange adjusts its game plan


The Louisville, Ky., Health
Information Exchange (LouHIE) is modifying its plans for a
regional electronic health records repository and has
postponed its launch. The board of directors overseeing the
project wants to take a more ambitious approach than the
plan the University of Louisville originally created.



(August 24, 2006)



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Executive Order: Promoting Quality and Efficient Health Care
in Federal Government Administered or Sponsored Health Care
Programs


By the authority vested in me as President by the
Constitution and the laws of the United States, and in order
to promote federally led efforts to implement more
transparent and high-quality health care, it is hereby
ordered as follows: …

(August 22, 2006)



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Smart Care Via a Mouse, but What Will It Cost?


The electronic medical record seems an example of pure
progress, a technology that yields only winners. So it has
been cast as a geeky hero in health care policy circles.
Michael O. Leavitt, the secretary of health and human
services, recently said the rollout of electronic health
records was “the most important thing happening in health
care.”… The technology itself is simply a software
storehouse of a person’s medical history, including chronic
conditions, medical tests, drug prescriptions, diagnoses and
doctors’ comments. Yet bringing pen-and-ink patient records
and prescriptions into the computer age is seen as a vital
step toward modernizing the nation’s inefficient,
paper-clogged health system. Various studies say that it
should reduce medical errors and costs, saving lives and
saving dollars — about $80 billion a year, according to the
RAND Corporation.

(August 20, 2006)



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State Policy Makers Taking Action To Drive Improvements in
Healthcare Quality and Safety Through Information Technology


A majority of states are taking critical steps to drive
improvements in the quality, safety and efficiency of
healthcare through information technology. An issue brief
released today by the independent, non-profit eHealth
Initiative (eHI) notes that 38 state legislatures have
introduced 121 bills during 2005 and 2006 that specifically
call for the use of health information technology (HIT) to
improve patient care — over half of which were introduced
in the first seven months of 2006.

(August 16, 2006)



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Report: P-4-P programs and tools in need of major sharpening


New research concludes that the inability to gather the
right information thwarts pay-for-performance initiatives
that could contribute to creating a better healthcare
system. Some of the pay-for-performance efforts, which the
study also refers to as “value-based purchasing,” leave many
employers – and other health plan purchasers – cold, the
report suggests.

(August 10, 2006)



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Study Says Only One in 10 Physicians Using Electronic
Medical Records


Recent data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey
indicates that 25 percent of office-based physicians
reported using electronic medical record systems in 2005.
The data marks a 31 percent increase from the 18.2 percent
reported in the 2001 survey. However, only one in 10
physicians actually met the minimal requirements of an
electronic medical record, such as computerized orders for
prescriptions, computerized orders for tests, reporting of
test results and physician notes. Although progress has been
made toward the goal of universal electronic records, there
is still a long way to go. NJHA’s Electronic Medical
Record-Electronic Health Record Task Force is studying ways
to expand the use of electronic medical and health records
here in New Jersey.

(August 7, 2006)



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Big Blue’s Healthcare Moves


To help make it more difficult for counterfeit drugs to
reach the market, IBM launched its RFID pharmaceutical
tracking system on Tuesday. The moved came as Big Blue also
announced it will contribute open-source software technology
aimed at building a U.S. national system of electronic
health records.

(August 7, 2006)



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Improving Healthcare Delivery Through Technology


Technology has made a positive impact on the lives of
Missourians providing convenience and access to information
but in many ways Missouri’s healthcare system has not
provided the same positive benefit to those who rely on the
state for health services. One of my top priorities as
governor is to create a new healthcare delivery system in
our state that improves patient access to critical
information and reduces burdensome red tape and paper work
for providers and state agencies involved in the process. I
commend the state legislature for realizing the potential
benefits of technology to our healthcare sector by
authorizing $25 million to the Healthcare Technology Fund. I
called for this fund in the State of the State in order to
ensure that basic technology will become part of the
improved delivery of healthcare services for all
Missourians.

(August 6, 2006)



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Indiana RHIO to provide docs access to more data


The Indiana Health Information Exchange aims to improve
patient care and increase connectivity with its newest
program, Quality Health First. “This confluence of improving
patient care and addressing problems in the healthcare
system is exciting,’ said J. Marc Overhage, MD, PhD,
president and CEO of IHIE. “We are emphasizing the value of
healthcare systems and supporting interoperability.”

(August 4, 2006)



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Commonwealth Fund Commission Says the U.S. Health Care
System Needs Thorough Transformation to Deliver Real Value


A panel of prominent leaders from all sectors of the health
care system today issued its Framework for a High
Performance Health System for the United States. The report
says that, although some of the best medical care in the
world is delivered in the United States, when examined as a
whole our country falls far short of providing high-quality,
safe, well-coordinated, and efficient care, accessible to
all Americans—and that we are failing to deliver adequate
value for the very high proportion of resources we devote to
health care in this country. The report from the
Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health
System states that there are concrete steps that could be
taken to improve value.

(August 2, 2006)



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New government regulations aim to boost healthcare IT
adoption


Even as he announced new government rules that would make it
easier for physicians to convert to electronic health
records, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt
focused on overcoming the next barrier – interoperability.
Leavitt, on Tuesday, announced exceptions and safe harbors
to two existing laws – a physician self-referral law and a
federal anti-kickback statute. The exceptions will make it
possible for hospitals to donate healthcare information
technology to physicians. The regulations become effective
in 60 days. With the exceptions in place, Leavitt said, he
is confident that hospitals would jump at the opportunity to
provide better, more efficient care.

(August 1, 2006)



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Summertime snooze fest for health IT


Don’t look to the halls of Congress for the real action on
healthcare IT this month. By the time you read this column,
lawmakers in Washington either will have done
the historic – passed a healthcare IT bill in the House of
Representatives. Or they will have come close to letting the
clock run down on H.R. 4157, the healthcare IT bill from
Reps. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) and Nathan Deal (R-Ga.). Last
month was a general snooze-fest for healthcare IT prospects
on Capitol Hill.

(August 1, 2006)



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Nursing Home Upgrades Technology


Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation
in Orange County, N.Y., last year implemented an electronic
health record system linked by a wireless network, which has
reduced medical errors and improved care.

(August 1, 2006)



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Indiana Exchange Launches Quality Program


The Indiana Health Information Exchange has launched a
new program, called Quality Health First of Indiana, that
combines medical and drug-claims data from participating
health plans with patients’ prescription drug data, and lab
and test results already stored in the Indiana Network for
Patient care database.

(August 1, 2006)



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Company Offers Free EHRs During Hurricane Season


MyMedicalRecords.com is offering its electronic health
records service to Florida residents at no cost during the
hurricane season.

(August 1, 2006)



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VA Secretary Calls for Fewer Prescription Errors


The Department of
Veterans Affairs – which "remains a world leader in patient
safety and the use of technology in preventing" prescription
drug errors – "prescribes medication to patients with an
accuracy rate of 99.993%, a standard that simply does not
exist anywhere else in American health care," VA Secretary
Jim Nicholson writes in a

USA Today
letter to the editor.


(August 1, 2006)



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Cerner Wins NHS Contract


Cerner will replace GE Healthcare on the London region of a
National Health Service project to computerize English
health records, according to a Monday announcement by BT
Group, an IT and telecommunications company in England.

(August 1, 2006)



<Back to top>

 

July
2006





Minnesota Receives Grant for EHRs


The Minnesota Health Department has received a $1.3 million
grant to implement and develop electronic health records in
rural areas of the state.

(July 31, 2006)



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Physician Practice Adopts EHR System


Dickson Medical Associates in Tennessee last year
implemented Misys’ electronic health record system, which
has provided faster access to patient information and
improved efficiency.

(July 31, 2006)



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American Health Information Community to discuss emergency
responder EHR


The Electronic Health Records Workgroup will deliver its
recommendation on an emergency responder EHR to The American
Health Information Community at a meeting Tuesday. The
meeting, at the Hubert Humphrey Building in Washington D.C.,
begins at 8:30 a.m. It is set to adjourn at 1 p.m. Jonathan
Perlin, MD, recently named senior vice president of quality
and chief medical officer at HCA, is slated to give the
recommendation to the full panel, immediately following
introductory comments by Health and Human Services Secretary
Michael Leavitt.

(July 31, 2006)



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CCHIT announces new EHR certifications


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology announced today two additional ambulatory
electronic health record products that achieved certified
status. The panel also announced a new certification cycle
that begins Tuesday. iMedica Patient Relationship Manager
2005, version 5.1, by iMedica Corporation and Praxis
Electronic Medical Records, version 3.4, by Infor-Med
Corporation underwent inspections that demonstrated
compliance with CCHIT’s published criteria and received
CCHIT CertifiedSM status for 2006.

(July 31, 2006)



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IHIE Program to Help Improve Quality, Reduce Healthcare
Costs


Quality Health First of Indiana will combine medical and
drug claims data from participating health plans with
prescription drug data and lab and test results to create
comprehensive reports that doctors can use to better monitor
their patients and improve their health. Participating
health plans will then reward doctors on specific patient
improvement measurements rather than on the number of
patients they see each day. Officials say the program should
reduce health care costs by reducing hospitalizations and
complications.

(July 31, 2006)



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NPR Discusses IOM Report on Medication Errors, E-prescribing


NPR’s "Talk
of the Nation
/Science
Friday
" in the second hour of the program included a
discussion of a recent Institute of Medicine report finding
that all prescriptions should be written electronically by
2010 in an effort to reduce prescription drug errors.


(July 31, 2006)



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Quality Care Pilot Posts Improvements


A "pay-for-quality" incentive program conducted by
Nashville, Tenn-based insurer HealthSpring reported improved
outcomes in several areas of patient care.

(July 31, 2006)



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Opinion: Telemedicine Can Improve Care, But Obstacles Remain


The expansion of
Indiana Medicaid coverage to include reimbursement for
telemedicine costs is "a major step forward," but other
obstacles must be overcome to fully utilize the technology,
Gerard Voland — dean of the School of Engineering,
Technology and Computer Science at Indiana University –
Purdue University Fort Wayne — writes in an opinion piece
in the

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette
.


(July 31, 2006)



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Tommy Thomson briefs Congressional caucus on healthcare IT


Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson
told a congressional caucus last week that the decision
physicians face today about implementing healthcare
information technology is not about whether to go
electronic, but how soon. Thompson and other panelists
called for federal incentives to boost healthcare IT
adoption by physicians.

(July 31, 2006)



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Illinois Medicaid rolls out DM


Now that its new Medicaid disease management program is
live, the Illinois Department of Health Care and Family
Services is focused on finding the best approach to caring
for chronically ill patients. As part of the state’s All
Kids Program, which was developed to improve quality and
care for the uninsured, the disease management program and
the Private Care Case Management Program will target more
than 160,000 beneficiaries. The state is seeking to address
its significant healthcare issues – the care of chronically
ill people and those with co-morbidities in a more
coordinated manner, said Anne Marie Murphy, Medicaid
director for the department. “We are looking to maximize
benefits to treat patients holistically,” she said.

(July 31, 2006)



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Army taps 3M to locate medical files using RFID


The Army awarded 3M a $3.8 million contract to use radio
frequency identification (RFID) technology to help locate
paper medical records at Ft. Hood, Texas.

(July 31, 2006)



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Microsoft gets to work on Azyxxi project


As the hoopla over Microsoft’s announcement last week that
it would step into the healthcare market subsides and media
demands lessen, Peter Neupert, Microsoft’s vice president of
health strategy is getting down to business. The business,
as he sees it, is to spread clinical healthcare technology
designed by doctors at a hospital in the nation’s capital to
hospitals all across the country.

(July 31, 2006)



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Attachment problems thwart GP2GP transfers


Practices involved in the pilot sites for GP2GP record
transfer are unable to send attachments electronically
because of problems with third party document management
systems, it has emerged. The NHS Connecting for Health (CfH)
project, which is currently being piloted in Gateshead and
the Isle of Wight, has discovered that most third party
document management systems cannot extract and pass on
scanned documents in electronic format.

(July 31, 2006)



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NHS officially told of London Cerner switch


NHS trusts across the capital today received official
confirmation that BT is to replace GE Healthcare –
previously IDX Systems – for Cerner as its supplier of
electronic patient record software in London.

(July 31, 2006)



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Bed Tracking Software Goes Mobile


Pittsburgh-based TeleTracking Technologies has released a
mobile version of its software designed to automate hospital
bed management. The vendor’s BedTracking Mobile application
enables housekeeping supervisors to use PDAs to enter data
on bed status, such as occupied, dirty, in progress, clean
or clean next. It also enables them to use the mobile
hardware to enter pending discharge or transfer status for
hospital beds.

(July 31, 2006)



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Lawmakers Introduce Health IT Legislation


Several lawmakers last week introduced new health IT
bills.

(July 31, 2006)



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Analysis: National IT ‘conversation’ urged


There are currently more than 4,000 health IT standards in
use, with hundreds of bodies responsible for them — no
wonder then, that doctors and other healthcare providers —
who are being asked to invest tens and even hundreds of
thousands of dollars — feel a little like they are putting
their money on the roulette wheel. The answer, advocates
say, is a "national conversation" so that the waiting game
can end and adoption of life- and money-saving health IT can
proceed.

(July 28, 2006)



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Nova Scotia Health Network Links Hospitals


A health care imaging network in Nova Scotia, Canada, allows
the province’s 34 hospitals to electronically share images
in an effort to improve care.

(July 28, 2006)



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Pennsylvania Group Considers RHIO


Health care leaders on Wednesday at Wilkes University in
Pennsylvania discussed the formation of the Northeastern
Pennsylvania Regional Health Information Organization, or
NEPA RHIO, which they say would eliminate unnecessary tests
and services and reduce costs.

(July 28, 2006)



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Australia Health Officials Endorse E-prescribing


Federal and state health officials in Australia on Thursday
"cleared the way for the introduction of electronic
prescribing," which they say will reduce errors caused by
illegible prescriptions.

(July 28, 2006)



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HIMSS Commends House Leadership on Passage of HIT
Legislation


The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
(HIMSS) sent letters to the Speaker of the House and the
Chairmen of the House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce
Committees commending their leadership in the U.S. House of
Representatives for passing the Health Information
Technology Promotion Act of 2006 (H.R. 4157) by a vote of
270-148 to help improve healthcare quality for all
Americans.

(July 28, 2006)



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NYU Medical Center Receives NIH Grant to Plan Potentially
Life-saving IT System for Emergency Departments


NYU Medical Center was recently awarded a $300,000 grant
from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to begin the
planning phase of a regional health information network in
the New York City area. The grant is part of a National
Library of Medicine sponsored program called Integrated
Advanced Information Systems (IAIMS). Known as NYCLIX (for
"New York Clinical Information Exchange"), the network will
allow Emergency Department (ED) physicians access to
clinical background information on patients who may have
previously been treated in other participating hospitals.
The project encompasses 14 local hospitals.

(July 27, 2006)



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More Providers Surmount Barriers to EHRs


EHR implementation by office-based physicians has increased
31% from 2001 to 2005, despite obstacles to adoption,
according to a new report from the CDC’s National Center for
Health Statistics. The survey finds that 23.9% of physicians
in 2005 used a full or partial EHR system in their office,
up from 18.2% in 2001. Adoption dipped slightly to 17.3% of
physicians in 2002 and 2003 before increasing to 20.8% in
2004.

(July 27, 2006)



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Long Island Hospitals Invest in Health IT


Hospitals in Long Island, N.Y., are investing millions
of dollars in computer software aimed at reducing medical
errors.

(July 27, 2006)



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Senators Urge Congress To Act on Health IT Legislation


Sens. John Ensign
(R-Nev.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in separate opinion
pieces in The Hill on Wednesday urged Congress
to move forward with health IT legislation.


(July 27, 2006)



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Study: EHR Adoption Rates Vary By Definition


The rate of electronic health record adoption varies
depending on how "adoption" is defined, according to a study
of adoption surveys.

(July 27, 2006)



<Back to top>





House Removes ‘Price Transparency’ Provision From Health IT
Bill


House leaders on
Wednesday removed from a health care IT bill (HR
4157
) a provision that would have required hospitals to
make public some price information
.

(July 27, 2006)



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Two bills hang in the balance as House prepares for recess


Unexpected opposition from within the Republican
Conference yesterday nearly forced GOP leaders in the House
to pull two bills expected on the floor today… A measure
from Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) to establish initial
federal standards for online medical records also ran into
opposition when hospital groups rejected language,
eventually stripped from the bill, that would have required
them to disclose what they charge for medical procedures.

(July 27, 2006)



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MedStar selling its data system


Columbia-based MedStar Health, a seven-hospital system,
announced yesterday that Microsoft is buying its system to
organize patient data from a variety of sources and make it
available to doctors and nurses in a fraction of a second.
For MedStar, it means a chance to see a system created by
two of its emergency room doctors at Washington Hospital
Center, then expanded over the past decade, get developed
more fully by the world’s biggest software company, with its
vast capabilities and marketing prowess.

(July 27, 2006)



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House passes healthcare IT bill


The House approved Thursday the Health Information
Technology Promotion Act of 2006 (H.R. 4157). It passed
after a motion to send the bill back to committee was
defeated in a vote. The final vote was 270-148, despite
reports of significant bi-partisan opposition. The bill
codifies the Office of the National Coordinator of Health
Information Technology within the Department of Health and
Human Services. It establishes a committee to make
recommendations on national standards for medical data
storage and develop a permanent structure to govern national
interoperability standards.


(July 27, 2006)



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Implantable Chip Called into Action


Hackensack (N.J.) University Medical Center was able to
access the medical records for an injured New Jersey police
officer after scanning his implanted radio frequency
identification-based chip. This is the first time that a
patient implanted with the device, from Delray Beach,
Calif.-based VeriChip Corp., was treated at a hospital that
could read it, according to the vendor.

(July 27, 2006)



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Senate cuts ONCHIT funding by $52.6M


For the second year in a row, Congress may not grant the
funding that President Bush requested for the Office of the
National Coordinator for Health Information Technology
(ONCHIT). Last week the Senate Appropriations Committee’s
Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related
Agencies Subcommittee approved an ONCHIT budget for fiscal
2007 of $63.2 million, $52.6 million less than the Bush
administration’s request of $115.8 million. The Senate also
approved a $50 million health IT funding line in the budget
of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

(July 27, 2006)



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Web-based pharmacy first at Tameside


Tameside General Hospital in Lancashire has become the first
to implement a new web-based pharmacy solution from Ascribe.
The new solution enables users to raise requests for
prescriptions to the hospital pharmacy through authorized
web-access points. Ascribe says the main benefits are
considerable time-savings and further reductions in errors,
also that solution also marks a major step towards further
integration with other clinical systems within hospitals.

(July 27, 2006)



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Knoxville Pediatric Associates selects Noteworthy Medical
Systems Electronic Health Records (EHR)


Noteworthy Medical Systems, Inc., producer of the most
user-friendly electronic health records (EHR) system,
announced today that Knoxville Pediatric Associates, of
Knoxville, TN, has selected the NoteworthyEHR to streamline
its office procedures and digitize the records of more than
40,000 patients. Established in 1996, Knoxville Pediatric
Associates (KPA) is a large, single specialty pediatric
practice in Knoxville. Noteworthy Medical Systems, Inc.,
produces the market’s only EHR with zero failures and 100%
user adoption.

(July 27, 2006)



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YOUR VIEWS: EHRs are not ready for prime time


I could not agree more that EHRs are unlikely to bring even
10% of the expected benefits and at probably at least double
the largest cost estimate. This is especially true of the
small or solo physician groups.

(July 26, 2006)



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Physician EHR Use Up, Report Finds


Electronic health record
system adoption among office-based physicians has increased
from 18.2% in 2001 to 23.9% in 2005, a

report
by the National Center for Health Statistics
finds.


(July 26, 2006)



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Canadian Health IT Vendors Urge Support for Standard


Canada’s health industry is debating whether to adopt the
latest version of an electronic messaging standard for
patient records or to keep one that several organizations
already have adopted.

(July 26, 2006)



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Alabama Hospital Invests $20M in Health IT System


Jackson Hospital in Alabama is investing $20 million in a
computer system that aims to improve efficiency and reduce
medical errors.

(July 26, 2006)



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Military Physicians Test Telemedicine System


Military physicians and nurses tested a telemedicine system
that aims to ease the shortage of on-site trauma surgeons
during an exercise at Air National Guard base Volk Field in
Wisconsin on Tuesday.

(July 26, 2006)



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AHIC is told EHR adoption rates are a matter of definition


The rate of electronic health-record adoption for physicians
and hospitals depends upon how you define "adoption,"
according to a study of adoption surveys presented to the
American Health Information Community’s EHR work group
Tuesday. Director of the Harvard Medical School’s Institute
for Health Policy David Blumenthal and Chair of the George
Washington University Medical Center’s Department of Health
Policy Sara Rosenbaum presented their findings that showed
adoption rates ranged from 23.9% to 9.3% depending on the
definition of "full or partial use."

(July 26, 2006)



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HIMSS and eHI Present Joint Testimony Before NCVHS Hearing


Former HIMSS Board Chair
Blackford Middleton, MD, MPH, MSc, FACMI, FACP, FHIMSS
presented

joint testimony
on behalf of HIMSS and eHealth
Initiative (eHI) before the National Committee on Vital and
Health Statistics (NCVHS) Ad-Hoc Workgroup on the Nationwide
Health Information Network on Functional Requirements for
the Nationwide Health Information Network on July 26.
“Innovative programs designed to facilitate public and
private sector seed funding of emerging health information
exchange efforts must be developed and implemented if goals
related to widespread interoperability are to be achieved,”
said Dr. Middleton. “While federal efforts can play a
critical role in addressing this challenge, they should be
designed to stimulate investment by the private sector as
well as state and local government agencies to facilitate
widespread interoperability.”


(July 26, 2006)



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HIMSS Urges Congress to Improve Healthcare Quality with
Passage of HIT Legislation


The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society
(HIMSS) today urged the U.S. House of Representatives to
pass the Health Information Technology Promotion Act of 2006
(H.R. 4157) to improve healthcare quality for all Americans.
“We urge members of the House to expeditiously pass this
legislation now as a critical step toward realizing the
President’s goal of electronic health records for most
Americans,” said HIMSS President/CEO H. Stephen Lieber. “We
believe that H.R. 4157 contains provisions such as grants
funding and Stark Reform that will help the industry to
fulfill President Bush’s goal of most Americans having an
electronic health record by the year 2014. The passage of
this legislation is critical to moving us towards these
benefits.”

(July 26, 2006)



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Emerging technologies make best possible medical care more
accessible


In my home state of Washington, we know that technology can
revolutionize businesses and communities. We’ve seen it with
Microsoft, with biofuels and at our research universities.
And those of us whose communities it has touched know that
it is far past time that we use that same innovation to
transform our nation’s healthcare system. By expanding
health information technology everywhere from bustling urban
centers to rural America, we will see fewer medical errors,
increased efficiency and healthier patients. Health IT makes
the best possible medical care much more accessible.

(July 26, 2006)



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`Telehealth’ systems slowly gaining


For the past month, 82-year-old Salvatore Fischer has been
getting a daily check-up in his North End apartment. But
instead of a visiting nurse, his healthcare provider is a
compact touch-screen monitor that would look right at home
in the Jetsons’ kitchen.

(July 26, 2006)



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Experts: E-Script Goal Unrealistic


The Institute of Medicine’s call for all prescribers and
pharmacies to be using electronic prescription software by
2010 isn’t likely to happen, observers say.

(July 26, 2006)



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States to get $150M for Medicaid upgrades


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will
distribute $150 million to states in the next two years for
Medicaid program improvements, with an emphasis on using
information technology to cut costs and improve quality.

(July 26, 2006)



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Senate directs DOD to use VA EHR architecture


The Senate directed the Defense Department to adopt the
Department of Veterans Affairs’ electronic health record
(EHR) architecture in its version of the VA 2007
Appropriations bill approved by the Senate Appropriations
Committee’s Military Construction and Veterans Affairs
Subcommittee on July 21.

(July 26, 2006)



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Insurer Adopts PHRs


Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia beginning in late
August will offer its 3.1 million members an Internet-based
personal health record

(July 25, 2006)



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Author says EHR gospel ‘Ain’t Necessarily So’


Healthcare information
technology has drawn a crowd of advocates who think
electronic health records will help cut healthcare costs,
but they will get an argument from the author of a
provocatively titled article, It Ain’t Necessarily So:
The Electronic Health Record and the Unlikely Prospect of
Reducing Healthcare Costs
, in the current issue of the
policy journal
Health
Affairs.


(July 25, 2006)



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athenahealth Introduces Healthcare Industry’s First
Economically Sustainable, Service-Based EMR Offering for
Medical Practices


athenahealth, Inc., the premier provider of web-based
software, knowledge, and services for medical practices, has
unveiled the industry’s first economically sustainable,
web-based electronic medical record (EMR) service designed
to provide physicians with proven return on investment
(ROI).

(July 25, 2006)



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Triad Hospitals, Inc. Selects Electronic Medical Record
Technology From McKesson to Connect Its Physicians Across
U.S.


McKesson today announced an agreement with Triad Hospitals,
Inc., to deploy McKesson’s Horizon Ambulatory Care™
electronic medical record (EMR) solution to nearly 775
employed physicians practicing out of 195 clinics across the
country.

(July 25, 2006)



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Survey: More doctors use EMRs


Physicians’ use of electronic medical records (EMRs) systems
increased by nearly a third between 2001 and 2005, according
to a new report from the National Center for Health
Statistics. The center, an agency of the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, reported that one-fourth of
physicians who see patients in their offices used either
partial or complete EMR systems last year, based on data
from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey.

(July 25, 2006)



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House set to vote on health IT bill


The House is expected to vote July 27 on a health
information technology bill, keeping advocates’ hopes alive
for enactment this year. After more than a month of
negotiations, the two committees that had approved similar
bills agreed on a single, 67-page version called the Health
Information Technology Promotion Act of 2006. It would
create a permanent Office of the National Coordinator for
Health IT.

(July 25, 2006)



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$330,000 to develop new network


A local health-care alliance was awarded $330,338 to create
an electronic information network that connects hospitals,
clinics and physicians serving low-income and uninsured
patients.

(July 25, 2006)



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Schwarzenegger Calls for Expanding EHR Use


California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Monday
announced that he has signed an executive order asking state
agency leaders to develop plans for spending at least $240
million to expand the use of electronic health record
technology in rural communities and by health providers who
serve low-income residents.

(July 25, 2006)



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Governor Wants More I.T. in California


California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has signed an
executive order outlining a series of steps to accelerate
the adoption of health care information technology in the
state. Executive Order S-12-06 calls on the leaders of
several state agencies to devise financing strategies to
assist providers in rapidly adopting I.T.

(July 25, 2006)



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Universal e-prescribing recommended for US


All prescribers and pharmacies should be using
e-prescriptions by 2010, US experts on drug error prevention
have recommended. A report from the Institute of Medicine’s
committee on identifying and preventing medication errors
says that greater use of information technology in
prescribing and dispensing medicines is one of the main
steps that should be taken to reduce errors.

(July 25, 2006)



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Athenahealth Goes Clinical


Watertown, Mass.-based athenahealth Inc. for several years
has offered to physician practices remotely hosted practice
management software bundled with outsourced billing and
collections services. Now, the vendor has made commercially
available athenaClinicals, combining hosted electronic
medical records software with outsourced medical records
department services… The vendor will enroll physicians in
pay-for-performance programs and the EMR includes coding and
workflow software to remind physicians to perform and
document certain tasks to meet P4P requirements.

(July 25, 2006)



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With new software, medical histories can be kept at home


Thomas Jefferson University Hospital’s free software makes
maintaining records easier. This could be vital in an
emergency.

(July 24, 2006)



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JAMIA:
Customization Aids Clinical Decision Support


Automated clinical decision
support tools embedded in clinical information systems can
improve patient care, but few organizations are creating
rules and benefiting from clinical decision support,
according to an article in the Journal of the American
Medical Informatics Association
.


(July 24, 2006)



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California health facility pilots PHRs


Eskaton Senior Residences and Services, a California
nonprofit consortium of senior housing and health
facilities, launched last week a personal health record
(PHR) pilot program for its residents. “There is a need for
repository for records. Paper gets lost so easily,” said
Marilyn Kennedy, executive director at one of Eskaton’s more
than 25 facilities in northern California. “All of us keep
our medical information in some place – a file, a box. This
enables residents to take their medical information and put
in into an electronic health record.”

(July 24, 2006)



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ViPS and WebMD, Units of Emdeon, Awarded Contract by The
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services


Emdeon Corporation’s
(Nasdaq:

HLTH
) subsidiaries ViPS and WebMD Health Corp. (Nasdaq:

WBMD
) today announced that the Centers for Medicare &
Medicaid Service (CMS) has awarded the companies a six-month
contract to conduct a personal health record (PHR)
feasibility test to determine how claims data can be used to
populate a PHR.


(July 24, 2006)



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Certification: Good Step or Fluff?


Reaction to the first certifications of electronic medical
records software varies among consultants specializing in
helping clients pick an information technology vendor. The
industry-sponsored Certification Commission for Healthcare
Information Technology, now working under a federal
contract, recently certified 20 vendors of ambulatory EMRs
as meeting specific criteria for functionality,
interoperability and security/reliability.

(July 24, 2006)



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Survey: Physician EMR Use Grows


An annual survey of physician use of electronic medical
records shows 23.9% of office-based physicians used full or
partial EMRs in 2005. That compares with 20.8% in 2004 and
17.3% in 2003.

(July 24, 2006)



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Bill would give HHS 2 years to build disease-detecting
network


A Senate committee bill passed this month would give the
Department of Health and Human Services two years to build a
network that would detect catastrophic disease outbreaks.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
approved the bill, S. 3678, which would shift the
responsibility for public health and emergency medical
programs to HHS. The Homeland Security Department is
currently in charge of those programs, including the
National Disaster Medical System (NDMS). Sen. Richard Burr
(R-N.C.), sponsored the bill, which won support from
Democrats and Republicans. It calls for HHS to “establish a
near real-time electronic nationwide public health
situational awareness capability,” linking existing state
systems. It would collect data from sources volunteering to
supply it, including public health departments, federal
health agencies, biosurveillance systems, health care
providers and laboratories.

(July 24, 2006)



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Health-care IT vendors urge Infoway to reconsider standard
stance


Canada’s health sector is debating whether to move ahead
with the latest version of an electronic messaging standard
for patient records or to stick with the one that several
organizations have already adopted.

(July 24, 2006)



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CMO highlights e-health initiatives


A new programme using e-mail alerts, chat rooms and on-line
notice boards has been developed to fight “consistently
high” levels of obesity in the East Midlands.

(July 24, 2006)



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Frist praises push to create e-medical records network


Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Saturday praised
efforts of three Tennessee health information organizations
to put patients’ medical records instantly in the hands of
doctors — regardless of where the patients go for treatment.
"There is no question in my mind what we are talking about
today is transformative," said Frist, a Tennessee Republican
and the only surgeon in the Senate. Frist has sponsored the
Wired for Health Care Quality Act to promote electronic
medical record exchanges nationally — something he says
could be a medical breakthrough that not only improves
quality of care but also reduces costs and waste. "The ideal
system would be where you as a patient and your physician
can within seconds access your medical records, your past
medical history, your current treatment and what diagnoses
you might have had," Frist said. "Secondly, you would want a
system that has every medicine that you are on, plus an
explanation of the potential complications of those
medications. That is the gold standard."

(July 23, 2006)



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MinuteClinic Uses EHRs


MinuteClinic non-urgent care facilities utilize an
electronic health records system developed in-house with
clinical decision support to quickly provide care.

(July 21, 2006)



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Electronic prescribing seen as a key in preventing
medication errors


Widespread use of electronic prescribing systems by all
physicians is a key proposal in a national plan to
significantly reduce medication errors proposed by an
Institute of Medicine committee. The report estimates that
medication errors affect 1.5 million people and costs the
nation at least $3.5 billion annually, not including
expenses for lost wages and productivity. Among its action
steps for consumers, physicians, healthcare organizations
and the government, the committee called for all
prescriptions to be written electronically by 2010.

(July 21, 2006)



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Feds May Add Claims Data to PHRs


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service is studying
the feasibility of populating personal health records with
Medicare claims data. The program is part of an effort to
boost online tools for Medicare beneficiaries. CMS recently
awarded two contracts totaling about $500,000 to test the
transfer of claims data into PHRs.

(July 21, 2006)



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IOM: E-Prescribing for All by 2010


All prescribers and pharmacies in the United States should
be using electronic prescription technology by 2010, a new
report from the Institute of Medicine recommends. The
report, "Preventing Medication Errors," concludes errors are
"surprisingly common" and costly to the nation. "When all
types of errors are taken into account, a hospital patient
can expect on average to be subjected to more than one
medication error each day," according to the report.

(July 21, 2006)



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RFID records to be implanted in 280 patients


RFID implant manufacturers VeriChip have announced that 280
patients from the New Jersey area are have health records
chips inserted under their skin as part of a trial into the
use of the technology to manage long-term conditions.

(July 21, 2006)



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Bush Mandate Helps Boost U.S. Healthcare IT Spending on
EHRs, Says Health Industry Insights


Information Technology (IT) spending for the electronic
health record (EHR) market in the U.S. will increase from
1.1 billion in 2005 to $4.8 billion in 2015, a compounded
annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.8 percent, according to
market research by Health Industry Insights, an IDC company.
The analysts have also released reports putting EHR and EMR
terminologies into context, and the role of payers in
promoting EHR adoption.

(July 20, 2006)



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Vendors pleased with certification process


Like graduate students having completed their oral exams,
vendors of electronic medical-records systems that passed
muster with the Certification Commission for Healthcare
Information Technology are happy that it’s over and are
preparing to reap the rewards of their achievement. CCHIT
announced Tuesday that 20 products had met its criteria and
received certification in the first round of a voluntary,
private-sector testing program induced and supported by
David Brailer, former head of the Office of the National
Coordinator for Health Information Technology at HHS. CCHIT
has a three-year contract with ONCHIT to establish a
healthcare IT systems testing and certification procedure.

(July 20, 2006)



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Henry Ford’s e-prescriptions surpass 1 million


Henry Ford Medical Group has filled more than 1 million
prescriptions electronically since it launched a program
last year at the request of American automakers to cut costs
by boosting the use of generic drugs. The 17-month-old
e-prescribe system also flags potential errors, and the
medical group reports that it has saved lives and money by
helping doctors avoid dangerous drug complications and
increasing the use of generic and low-cost prescriptions.
Henry Ford expects e-prescribing to save the Detroit-based
health system $1 million this year.

(July 20, 2006)



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Clinical Information System Tailored for Long-Term Care


The Valley View Center for Nursing Care and Rehabilitation
in Goshen, N.Y., is reaping benefits from a clinical
information system — including physician order entry —
that’s tailored specifically for the underserved
long-term-care market. Its experiment could signal a new
direction for the industry, where pent-up demand for
adequate information technology might finally be satisfied
for a reasonable cost through an
application-service-provider model combined with relatively
economical wireless networks and devices.

(July 20, 2006)



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Q&A: Glen Tullman, CEO, Allscripts




Allscripts
, already a major force in large-practice
EHRs, recently acquired A4 Health Systems, bolstering its
strength in the small-practice market. Health-IT World
asked CEO Glen Tullman about the merger and the market.


(July 20, 2006)



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West Virginia To Begin EHR Project


The West Virginia Health Information Network with two
grants and a recently named board of directors is set to
begin work on electronic health record implementation across
the state.

(July 20, 2006)



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Health Industry Insights’ Study Reveals $3.7 Billion
Increase in IT Spending for Electronic Health Record Market;
IDC Research Firm Releases Series of Reports on EHR Market,
Definitions and Trends


In a report published today by IDC’s Health Industry
Insights, the research and advisory firm forecasts total
information technology (IT) spending for the electronic
health record (EHR) market in the United States to increase
to $4.8 billion in 2015. The study reveals a compounded
annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.8% in the EHR market over
the next ten years, with current spending in that market
estimated at $1.1 billion in 2005. "We’re seeing a renewed
interest and investment in healthcare IT, sparked by
President Bush’s federal mandate to create electronic
medical records for Americans by 2014 and re-ignited earlier
this week by the Certification Commission for Healthcare
Information Technology’s (CCHIT) product certification
announcement," says Lynne Dunbrack, Program Director of
Payer Research at Health Industry Insights, and lead author
of the report. "All of this is helping to create a new
tipping point for EHRs and lots of opportunity in this
space."

(July 20, 2006)



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HHS Advisors Explore PHR Issues


The consumer empowerment workgroup of the American Health
Information Community will hold a public hearing on July 27
to hear testimony on issues pertaining to personal health
records.

(July 20, 2006)



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Carle Clinic Live on E-Records


Carle Clinic Association has implemented electronic medical
records software used by 2,900 clinicians and staff at its
main campus in Urbana, Ill., and at 10 regional clinics.
Carle Clinic’s 300 physicians practice in more than 50
specialties or subspecialties.

(July 20, 2006)



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Report calls for universal e-prescribing by 2010


The Institute of Medicine recommended today that physicians
electronically write all prescriptions by 2010. In a new
report, “Preventing Medication Errors,” the institute also
called for the adoption of other forms of health information
technology, including electronic medical records and
personal health records, to reduce the high rate of
medication errors in the United States.

(July 20, 2006)



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Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Approves Increase in HIT
Funding


The Fiscal Year 2007 Labor, HHS and Education Appropriations
bill was approved by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee
on Labor, HHS and Education on July 18, 2006. The $605.6
billion spending bill includes $142.8 billion in
discretionary funding for the Departments of Labor, Health
and Human Services, and Education, as well as the
Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Social Security
Administration.

(July 19, 2006)



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Blue Cross of Louisiana Plans Outlines Health Care Strategy



With Louisiana healthcare being revamped and being
considered as a template nationally, one of the major
participants in Louisiana, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of
Louisiana says that it will use unexpectedly strong 2005 net
income to further moderate premium rate increases even as
overall health care costs continue to rise. The company also
plans to invest in rebuilding health care in Louisiana in
the aftermath of the hurricanes… One of the company’s key
corporate goals for 2006 is to play a pivotal role in
rebuilding Louisiana’s health care system, including the
development of state-of-the-art health information
technology to support it.

(July 19, 2006)



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New England Docs to Get eRx


An initial group of 100 physicians in the New England
Quality Care Alliance will receive electronic prescription
technology from DrFirst Inc., Rockville, Md.

(July 19, 2006)



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Commission certifies first 20 EHRs


The Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology (CCHIT) announced July 18 that it has certified
20 electronic health record (EHR) products for use in
clinics and doctor’s offices. The Department of Health and
Human Services awarded CCHIT a $2.7 million contract in
September 2005 to develop a process for certifying EHRs that
can eventually interoperate with other EHRs, have functions
health care practitioners need and include security features
that can protect personal health information. HHS Secretary
Mike Leavitt said CCHIT certification “removes a significant
barrier to widespread adoption of EHRs. It gives health care
providers peace of mind to know they are purchasing a
product that is functional and interoperable and will bring
higher-quality, safer care to patients.” The CCHIT Certified
seal indicates that the electronic health systems comply
with a consensus-based benchmark. That reduces the risk for
health care practitioners looking to adopt EHRs, the
commission said.

(July 19, 2006)



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Online clinical incident reporting cuts admin


A primary care trust has deployed a web-based reporting tool
to log clinical incidents in real time. Last month 64% of
incidents were logged online and the trust says deployment
of the system is already significantly reducing the
administrative and managerial burden of reporting clinical
incidents and has led to closer working between the clinical
governance team and specialist staff.

(July 19, 2006)



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WellPoint to package records online


WellPoint Inc. wants you to have your own medical record. A
"personal health record," made up of the insurance claims,
lab tests and similar information, is at the heart of an
initiative the Indianapolis insurer is rolling out
nationwide. The 360 Health program, announced Monday, also
is designed to give people ready access to advice and
information on wellness, diseases and conditions, as well as
online tools to help them manage their own health care,
according to WellPoint.

(July 18, 2006)



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New HIMSS chairman looks forward to global initiatives


Keep the organization membership-driven and focused on the
needs of its members, review its governance structure
including board composition, and work on a successful launch
of global initiatives, that’s what Albany (N.Y.) Medical
Center Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer
George Hickman said will be the priorities during his
one-year term, which began July 1, as Health Information and
Management Systems Society chairman. Or more simply, Hickman
said his goals can be summarized as delivering everything
HIMSS has on its table the best it can and to do well the
things that it’s doing. To further this goal, he said HIMSS
has just started working on an assessment of its board and
its strategic plan.

(July 18, 2006)



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Leavitt: Deny Contracts to Companies That Resist Federal
Standards


HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Monday told four governors
attending the annual Southern Governors Association
conference that denying state contracts to health care
companies that do not use federally approved software
standards would aid the effort to adopt electronic health
records.

(July 18, 2006)



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Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey to Sponsor
Two-Year Pilot With Hackensack University Medical Center to
Implant Medical Microchips in Chronically Ill Patients


Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, the state’s
oldest and largest health insurer, announced today a
two-year collaboration with Hackensack University Medical
Center, its physicians, and the VeriChip Corporation
(VeriChip) to implant FDA-approved microchips in chronically
ill patients enabling emergency room physicians to access
those patients’ medical record electronically. The
microchips provide immediate access to family contact
information and information about the patients’ medical
histories that could mean the difference between life and
death in an emergency.

(July 18, 2006)



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Baylor downtown to start $53M ER expansion


The expansion will increase the department’s size to 78,000
square feet from 20,681 square feet and add a physician
referral center and electronic medical record system. The
$53 million expansion will add another CT room, increase the
number of emergency bays to 12 and double the number of
trauma rooms to four.

(July 18, 2006)



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CCHIT Announces First Certified Electronic Health Record
Products


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary
Mike Leavitt announced today that the first ambulatory
electronic health record (EHR) products have been certified
by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information
Technology (CCHITSM). Twenty EHR products achieved CCHIT
CertifiedSM status after undergoing inspections that
demonstrated their compliance with CCHIT’s published
criteria. Inspections are continuing, with additional
results to be announced at the end of July and quarterly
thereafter.

(July 18, 2006)



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States Ramping Up Data Exchange Work


States are becoming more involved in regional health
information organizations and other health data exchanges,
according to preliminary results of a survey of 165
programs.

(July 18, 2006)



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Hospital Buys Palm Devices


The University Hospital Cincinnati has purchased 500 mobile
devices from Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Palm Inc. and is
offering physicians mobile access to clinical data.

(July 18, 2006)



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State-level health info exchanges increasing


In the past two years, most states have begun to plan,
operate or support health information exchanges, according
to initial results of a survey by the eHealth Initiative.
Only seven states have completed their planning and begun
implementing state-level regional health information
organizations (RHIOs), but 28 more are planning theirs now,
the organization reported. Nearly a third of the states have
little or no coordinated state-level activity, however, the
report states.

(July 18, 2006)



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Public awareness low on e-health services


A picture of low public awareness of electronic health
services emerges from a new survey of users with NHS Direct,
the 24 hour online and telephone advice service, proving to
be the exception to the rule. The ntl:Telewest Digital NHS
2006 Study found that, while 72% of respondents had heard of
NHS Direct, recognition rates were much lower for newer
services such as Choose and Book (5%) and HealthSpace (1%).
Over a quarter (28%) had never heard of any of the services
and 92% said that their GP had not told them about the new
options, including NHS Direct.

(July 18, 2006)



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Warning on good practice in data sharing


The Information Commissioner (IC) has issued a warning to
the government and other public bodies to share data
properly or risk losing public confidence.

(July 18, 2006)



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Report: Health IT Spending Up


Health care IT spending is increasing, according to a
report from the American Hospital Association.

(July 17, 2006)



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Governor: Make E-Prescribing Real


Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich wants all physicians in the
state to be using electronic prescribing technology by 2011.
The governor has signed an executive order creating a new
patient safety division in the Department of Public Health.
The division is charged, in part, with formulating a plan to
bring universal e-prescribing in the state to fruition.

(July 17, 2006)



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Perspective: Cracking the RHIO sustainability code


Can regional health
information organizations (RHIOs) be self-sustaining? Some

industry experts
say it’s going to take a few more years
of maturity in the market before that question can be
adequately answered.


(July 17, 2006)



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Rethinking Potential of Personal Health Records is Goal of
New RWJF Program


The Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation (RWJF) today issued a call for proposals for a
new program to stimulate innovations in personal health
information technology. The national initiative, called
Project HealthDesign: Rethinking the Power and Potential of
Personal Health Records,
encourages technology pioneers
to design the next generation of personal health record
(PHR) systems in ways that empower patients to better manage
their health and health care. The $3.5 million program will
support up to 10 multidisciplinary teams in a collaborative
effort to design and test innovative PHR applications that
can be built upon a common technology platform.


(July 17, 2006)



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New program to advance personal health care through
technology


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today issued a
call for proposals for a new program to stimulate
innovations in personal health information technology.

(July 17, 2006)



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Chronically Ill to Get RFID Implants


Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Newark, will
pay for a select group of its chronically ill members to be
implanted with a radio frequency identification chip from
Delray Beach, Calif.-based VeriChip Corp. The technology is
part of the vendor’s VeriChip system, which is designed to
provide emergency physicians with secure access to patients’
electronic records.

(July 17, 2006)



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HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendors Association (EHRVA)
Supports EHR Product Certification and Calls for
Stakeholders to Accelerate EHR Adoption


With this week’s expected announcement of the first group of
Electronic Health Record (EHR) products to pass the CCHIT
certification process, EHRVA recognizes this achievement and
calls on industry stakeholders to do more to accelerate EHR
adoption.

(July 17, 2006)



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HIMSS Reports: Louisiana Kicks Off Redesign of Healthcare
Delivery System


Gov. Kathleen Babineaux
Blanco and the

Louisiana Health Care Redesign Collaborative
hosted a
charter-signing ceremony with U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt to officially kick
off the process of changing health care delivery in
Louisiana.


(July 17, 2006)



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Eclipsys Aligns with athenahealth


Eclipsys Corp. will offer its Sunrise Ambulatory Clinicals
electronic medical records software for physician practices
combined with practice management software and outsourced
billing/collections services from athenahealth Inc.

(July 17, 2006)



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Wirral rolls out electronic ordering to GPs


GP practices across Wirral and surrounding areas in
North-west England are due to rollout a new electronic
ordering system for laboratory tests.

(July 17, 2006)



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Managing Change in the Context of a Community Health
Information Infrastructure


Building health information infrastructure in communities is
very challenging. One important reason is that it requires
fundamental changes in how nearly everyone in health care
does their job every day. Such massive change is never easy
— and is never easy to manage.

(July 16, 2006)



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Grant to fund formation of rural health network


Some rural health care providers in Orange, Crawford,
Dubois, Spencer and Perry counties have received a $540,000
grant from the Health Resources Services Administration. The
grant will help form the South Central Indiana Regional
Health Care Network. “The South Central Indiana Regional
Health Care Network is an integrated health network that
brings together Bloomington Hospital; Bloomington Hospital
of Orange County; the Bloomington E-Health Collaborative;
Southern Indiana Community Health Care, a rural primary
health care organization; and Southern Hills Counseling
Center, a community mental health center,” said Dr. Todd
Rowland, director of medical informatics at Bloomington
Hospital.

(July 15, 2006)



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IT Tools Can Aid Local Health Efforts


The collection of local
health information has great potential to help communities
identify problems and develop solutions, but barriers such
as the development of proper IT systems to collect and
disseminate the information and privacy concerns are holding
back officials and community organizations from being able
to capitalize on the information, according to a paper in
the current issue of Health Affairs.


(July 14, 2006)



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WellPoint To Use Surgeon Group’s Database


WellPoint will use performance data from the Society of
Thoracic Surgeons’ National Adult Cardiac Surgery Database
to update its quality improvement and pay-for-performance
programs.

(July 14, 2006)



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Cardiologists take EMRs to heart


Wake Heart and Vascular Associates, the largest cardiology
group in eastern North Carolina, has completed installation
of electronic medical record technology. Cardiologists at
Wake Heart and Vascular see between 25 to 30 patients per
day, and usually spend a couple hours each day on paperwork.
An EMR cuts down on the time spent on patient charts so that
the physician can focus more on patient care.

(July 14, 2006)



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Group to announce certified EHR vendors


A group that certifies healthcare information technology
products on Tuesday will announce the first set of vendors
to achieve certification for electronic health records used
in doctors’ offices and other ambulatory care settings.

(July 14, 2006)



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Four new areas for IT policy named by DH


Four significant new areas for NHS information and IT policy
are identified in the Department of Health’s new plans for
commissioning services in England. The newly-published plan
for the NHS commissioning framework says consultations with
150 stakeholders indicate that the patient-centered approach
of the current information strategy is right – but four new
areas for attention are identified.

(July 14, 2006)



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Clinicians warn CRS will damage confidentiality


Concerns about the negative impact that the planned national
database of patient records, the NHS Care Record Service
national record, will have on patient confidentiality have
been voiced by frontline doctors.

(July 14, 2006)



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A different EMR pricing structure: guaranteed ROI


Frank Rhie has been selling information-technology systems
targeting the tough-to-penetrate, small physician-office
market for nearly a decade and, in a recent candid
interview, said he has the mistakes to prove it. Alteer
Corp., which Rhie co-founded in 1996, started as an
application service provider, hit the same wall as other ASP
electronic medical-records system vendors with early buyer
resistance to that approach and followed the market to a
site-license sales model. Alteer is now refocusing on
selling ASP services for its suite of electronic
medical-records and practice-management systems, but with a
kicker, reducing physician’s fear of risk in investing in IT
by offering the software free upfront, while guaranteeing
them a return on investment within the first 12 months.

(July 13, 2006)



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Mississippi To Provide Health Info Via E-mail, Internet


The Mississippi Department of Health on Wednesday announced
that this fall it will begin delivering disease information
to health professionals via e-mail, the Internet or mail.

(July 13, 2006)



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Louisiana Looks Toward Healthcare Redesign



Information technology will be a centerpiece of an ambitious
plan to rebuild the crippled healthcare infrastructure in
Louisiana to a higher standard than what existed before
Hurricane Katrina, according to a top state health official.
"We’re trying to build a better mousetrap," says Roxanne
Townsend, M.D., Medicaid medical director at the



Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals
.

(July 13, 2006)



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Case Study: Clinical Lab Uses Print Server to Send Secure
Diagnostics to Doctors


The
average turnaround time for the results of a blood test can
be anywhere between three and five business days. For
patients waiting for results to yield treatments such as
diabetes, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or sickle-cell anemia,
waiting that long can seem like an eternity. Doctors and lab
technicians are constantly working together to both provide
specimen samples and test samples to properly diagnose
various ailments for the patients they treat. In a
patient-sensitive environment, not only are quick results
ideal for an immediate diagnosis, but doctors also need the
confidential information in a format that is conducive to
their work environment.

Health Line Clinical Laboratories
, the largest and
fastest-growing privately held clinical laboratory in
California, needed to increase the turnaround time of test
results for doctors; however, Health Line knew that they
needed the results presented in hard copy, since doctors
prefer a method that allows them to maintain a file of all
client activity. Health Line looked for an online reporting
system that automatically pushes pending and final lab
results directly to secure printers in hundreds of doctor’s
offices.


(July 13, 2006)



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Online Scheduling Benefits Patients and Physicians



Outpatient medical practices
looking for a way to streamline appointment scheduling might
consider installing a scheduling system from



Nexsched
,
in Marcellus, N.Y.


(July 13, 2006)



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House wrangles with HIT bill


House lawmakers are still working to hammer out differences
between two versions of a healthcare information technology
bill before Congress. The Health Information Technology
Promotion Act (H.R. 4157) has two competing versions – one
in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and one in the
House Ways and Means Committee.

(July 13, 2006)



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Digital Hospital Uses Tablet PCs


An article in the
current issue of Health Management Technology
looks at how Saint Clare Hospital in Wisconsin has
implemented Tablet PCs to streamline access to clinical
information and improve care quality.


(July 13, 2006)



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Massachusetts Medical Society Compares EHR Vendors


The group is negotiating prices with electronic health
record vendors to help its members implement the technology
in their practices.

(July 13, 2006)



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Report finds healthcare IT spending increasing


Citing industry analysts Sheldon I Dorenfest & Associates,
the American Hospital Association (AHA) says healthcare IT
expenditure is on the increase, with nearly $31 billion
spent in 2006 compared with $19 billion in 2000.
Furthermore, this growth is set to continue, fueled by
purchases of picture archiving and communications systems,
as well as computerized provider order entry systems.

(July 13, 2006)



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Pilot To Evaluate Usefulness of Online PHRs for Seniors


Intel and Eskaton, a senior care not-for-profit
organization in California, are launching a pilot program to
determine whether Internet-based personal health records
help seniors manage their health care and medical
information online.

(July 13, 2006)



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GM Leader: Enact I.T. Law This Year


G. Richard Wagoner Jr., chair and CEO at General Motors
Corp., pushed Congress on July 13 to pass legislation to
encourage accelerated adoption of health care information
technology.

(July 13, 2006)



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Troubled child health system to be replaced


NHS Connecting for Health (CfH) looks set to replace an
interim child health information system deployed in London
last year and has already halted plans to extend it to
include a community module.

(July 13, 2006)



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The future with electronic medical records: Effective,
flexible, affordable


Private practice physicians within a hospital are in an odd
position. They don’t work for the hospital, but without them
the hospital would find it difficult to remain open. Because
physicians rarely are tied to any one hospital, they might
visit several hospitals during the course of a day or week.
And at each hospital, physicians have to work within that
hospital’s clinical information system (CIS).

(July 12, 2006)



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Tracking Computer-Based Error Reports Improves Patient
Safety


To err is human, but asking nurses, physicians and other
hospital staff to report medication errors and log them into
a computer database can help improve patient safety systems
as well as human error rates, according to a study from the
Johns Hopkins Children’s Center. Voluntary error-reporting
systems are not new, but few studies have looked at the
accuracy of the reporting and its impact, the Hopkins
investigators say.

(July 12, 2006)



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Personal and (maybe) confidential


Personal health records are probably the hottest thing in
healthcare information technology right now, with the
potential of becoming a key information-sharing vehicle for
hundreds of millions of Americans in the next several years.
In May, officials at America’s Health Insurance Plans and
the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association said they were
working on a data-sharing program that could provide the
basics of a portable PHR for their respective members. AHIP
claims its member plans, which include most but not all
Blues plans, cover more than 200 million Americans.

(July 12, 2006)



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Medical society does the shopping for Massachusetts docs


The Massachusetts Medical
Society is doing its part to help its members implement
electronic medical records in their practices. Figuring that
cost and finding the right technology are the major barriers
to adoption, the society decided to do the shopping and
negotiate a good price for its members, said B Dale Magee,
MD, president-elect of the medical society and head of the
committee that selected software for the members to
consider. “Electronic medical records can benefit all of our
members, whether they care for patients in large or small
practices,” said Kenneth R. Peelle, MD, president of the
medical society. The society narrowed the number of vendors
to four: e-MDs in Austin, Texas; eClinicalWorks in
Westborough, Mass; Chicago-based Allscripts; and NextGen in
Horsham, Pa.



(July 12, 2006)



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Pennsylvania Hospital To Expand Telemedicine Program


Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Pennsylvania has
received a $500,000 grant from the Dorothy Rider Pool Health
Care Trust to help expand its tele-intensivist program.

(July 12, 2006)



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2007 National Patient Safety Goals


The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare
Organizations has announced the 2007 National Patient Safety
Goals and related Requirements for each of its accreditation
programs and its Disease-Specific Care certification
program. The Goals and Requirements, recently approved by
the Joint Commission’s Board of Commissioners, apply to the
nearly 15,000 Joint Commission-accredited and certified
health care organizations and programs.

(July 12, 2006)



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IHI 100,000 Lives Campaign Exceeds Goal


The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has announced
that U.S. hospitals taking part in an unprecedented 18-month
effort to prevent 100,000 unnecessary deaths by dramatically
improving patient care have exceeded that goal. Hospitals
enrolled in the 100,000 Lives Campaign have collectively
prevented an estimated 122,300 avoidable deaths and, as
importantly, have begun to institutionalize new standards of
care that will continue to save lives and improve health
outcomes into the future.

(July 12, 2006)



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SPECIAL REPORT: HIT Legislation on the Horizon


According to David W. Roberts, MPA, FHIMSS, vice
president for government relations for the Healthcare
Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS),
"President Bush may become only the second U.S. president in
history to sign major health information technology (HIT)
legislation; the first being President Clinton, who signed
the HIPAA legislation in 1996.

(July 12, 2006)



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Intel Brings Medical Records to Seniors


Intel and Eskaton, an
elder care non-profit based in California, recently
announced that they will begin investigating the best way to
bring Internet-based personal health records to the elderly
residents of Eskaton facilities.


To evaluate the usefulness of Internet-based health files,
Eskaton is starting a pilot program with some of its
residents who volunteered to participate to help them manage
their own health and medical information online.


(July 12, 2006)



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Survey: Web-based Tools Favored for PHR Devices


Forty percent of health
care IT professionals said personal health record devices
have the best chance of widespread adoption if they are in a
Web-based tool format, according to a

survey
by the Healthcare Information and Management
Systems Society.


(July 12, 2006)



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Wyoming Hospital Adopts EHRs


United Medical Center in Cheyenne, Wyo., has implemented
an electronic health record system to improve safety and
efficiency.

(July 11, 2006)



<Back to top>





Health Affairs paper: EHR savings, benefits questionable


It’s unclear whether electronic health records will reduce
healthcare costs or improve care, according to a new paper
in the journal Health Affairs. The author argues that a
literature review of studies on EHRs show that the
technology can lead to increased billing, make doctors less
productive and does not change provider-to-patient ratios.
“Absent other fundamental interventions that alter medical
practice, it is unlikely that the U.S. health care bill will
decline as a result of the EHR alone,” writes Jaan Sidorov,
MD, an associate in the department of general internal
medicine at Geisinger Medical Center, in Danville, Pa. The
paper, published in the July/August issue of Health Affairs,
examined EHRs in ambulatory care. However, the study’s
author says the research could also apply to hospitals and
other inpatient settings. Sidorov said the paper was not
intended to examine all of the arguments in favor of EHRs.

(July 11, 2006)



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Indy ERs Get Access to Drug History


In recent months, 16 hospital emergency departments in the
Indianapolis region have implemented an information system
to access patient medication history, regardless of where
the patient is from.

(July 11, 2006)



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VA Honored As Innovator For Medical Records


When Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans last year, the
Department of Veterans Affairs medical center there was lost
— but medical records for 40,000 veterans were not. That is
because since 1998, VA medical records have been
computerized, stored and tracked electronically, rather than
on paper. That allowed VA doctors in far-flung locations
such as Houston, Jackson, Miss., and the District to
immediately access records for New Orleans area VA patients
who relocated, ensuring that they continued to receive the
care and prescriptions they needed.

(July 11, 2006)



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Cost of House health IT bill could jeopardize it


The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated the cost
of the House health information technology bill reported out
by the Energy and Commerce Committee at $38 million over
five years, a sum that could be large enough to prevent the
bill’s passage.

(July 11, 2006)



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Doctors test out RFID system for handovers


Doctors at the Birmingham’s Heart of England NHS Foundation
Trust are testing the use of RFID technology for patient
handovers… Surgeons scan the tags and verify identity
using details in the record and the digital photograph. The
tag is also used to record pre-operative checking and making
sure that a risk assessment has been done before the patient
enters theatre.

(July 11, 2006)



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OHSU Hands Helped Shape National Information Technology
Roadmap


Adam T. Wright, Oregon Health & Science University Ph.D.
candidate and fellow in medical informatics, and Dean F.
Sittig, Ph.D., adjunct professor of medical informatics and
clinical epidemiology, played significant roles in
developing a “roadmap” commissioned by the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services (HHS) aimed at making health
information technology an integral part of clinical decision
making in the practice of medicine. The plan was presented
to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt.

(July 10, 2006)



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Health info network hires director


The Greater Rochester Health Information Organization
has hired a former insurance industry information technology
specialist as its first executive director. Ted Kremer is to
be responsible for assembling a Rochester area network that
ultimately would link local hospitals, physician offices and
other medical providers in a secure computer network. If
plans go as federal officials hope, such regional health
information networks, or RHIOs, eventually will link in a
nationwide system that provides instant patient histories to
providers anywhere in the country.

(July 10, 2006)



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‘Most Wired’ Hospitals More Likely to Reach Patients at Home


Online health management
"will become the new house call," said Alden Solovy,
executive editor of Hospitals & Health Networks, which just
published its eighth annual list of the nation’s "most
wired" hospitals. Four-fifths of the "most wired" hospitals
offer patients personal health records into which they can
enter and manage their health information, said Solovy.
"Consumers are doing everything from booking travel to
managing their finances from their living rooms. The ‘most
wired’ hospitals provide the same opportunities with health
care."


(July 10, 2006)



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VistA users from Mexico steal show at conference


The biggest stars of the WorldVistA community meeting this
year were from Mexico.

(July 10, 2006)



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VA Gets Award for Health Records System


The government’s system of maintaining electronic health
records for millions of veterans was honored Monday for
innovation by Harvard University. The Veterans Affairs
Department, which in recent weeks has been riddled with
security problems, was one of seven recipients of the annual
Innovations in American Government Award. The VA maintains
computerized patient records for more than 5 million
veterans who use its health care system. That permits health
care providers at each of the VA’s 1,400 clinics to save
time and money by getting full information without the need
to run duplicative medical tests, organizers said.

(July 10, 2006)



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Hong Kong EHR Project Grows


An electronic health record project launched in Hong
Kong will allow the Hong Kong Hospital Authority and the
private sector to share patient information.

(July 10, 2006)



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Slowly, Oh So Slowly, the House Moves on HIT


In between its long recesses, district work days, and other
periods of being away from the office, the House has been
moving slowly, oh so slowly, toward enacting health care IT
legislation.

(July 10, 2006)



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Amendments to HIT Legislation Targets Underserved
Communities


HIMSS recently sent
thank you

letters
to Reps. Joe Barton (R-TX) and John D. Dingell
(D-MI) for their support in the passing of the
Ferguson-Towns Amendment and the Towns-Rush-Wynn Amendment
to the Health Information Technology Promotion Act, H.R.
4157.


(July 10, 2006)



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HIMSS Reports: FY07 Federal Appropriations Update


With only 44 legislative days left in the U.S. Senate and
even fewer days remaining for the U.S. House before this
October’s scheduled adjournment for members of congress to
return home to campaign for the November 2 election, it
appears that the annual appropriations process is slowing
down to a halt.

(July 10, 2006)



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I.T. Security Group Starts to Jell


The industry-sponsored eHealth Vulnerability Reporting
Program has named chairs for its four working groups. In
June, a group of provider and payer organizations started
the program to develop ways to bring uniformity to how
health information technology security vulnerabilities are
identified, communicated and mitigated.

(July 10, 2006)



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Federal health services choose VA imaging standard


Two major federal health services expect to standardize on a
medical imaging system that the Department of Veterans
Affairs developed and already uses. The Indian Health
Service will test the VA’s medical imaging system this
summer in its Portland, Ore., area office before deploying
it nationwide, top IHS officials said.

(July 10, 2006)



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North Staffs announces ‘big bang’ implementation


University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust has
successfully completed the first phase of a trust-wide ‘big
bang’ implementation of a new iSoft patient administration
system, together with specialist clinical systems as part of
its move towards an electronic patient record.

(July 10, 2006)



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Computers sought to cut waiting times at hospitals


Provincial health ministers who were disappointed to find no
money for computer systems in the recent federal budget say
they hope that a new report recommending that billions be
devoted to that purpose will spur Ottawa to act. The
provinces say increased computer technology will help them
compare health-care data across jurisdictions, store patient
records, create electronic registries and provide diagnostic
tools to remote communities. All of those advances are
needed, they say, to reduce the waiting times for crucial
medical procedures. So it was with some measure of delight
that they read the advice of Brian Postl, the federal
waiting-times adviser appointed by the previous Liberal
government, who urged an expenditure of $2.4-billion over
five years on new health-related computer technology.

(July 8, 2006)



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Perspective: Good news for RHIOs


Recent reports on the
state of health information exchanges have been cautious at
best and dismal at worst. Frost & Sullivan’s study

U.S. Regional Health Information Organizations and Exchanges

(RHIOs and HIEs) notes that the trend for RHIO looks good.
The study, which was released in late May, highlights the
latest concepts and topics that address and shape the
regional health information organization and exchange
market. Steve Tobin, industry analyst for healthcare
information technologies, said that while he doesn’t expect
an explosion of RHIOs any time soon, the future is bright.


(July 7, 2006)



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Minnesota Clinics Adopt Pay-for-Performance Programs


Minnesota primary care clinics are participating in a new
public reporting system and a pay-for-performance system
that rewards clinics that help diabetics reach optimal
health.

(July 7, 2006)



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Reports Suggest Cerner Might Expand Role in NHS IT Project


An English Web site has "boosted speculation" that
Cerner might replace GE Healthcare as the major software
subcontractor for the London segment of the National Health
Service’s electronic health record project.

(July 7, 2006)



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Alzheimer’s Patients Receive Microchips


Five Alzheimer’s patients in Puerto Rico on Thursday
voluntarily had microchips implanted in their forearms to
provide data about their medical condition and contact
information for their physicians and caregivers.

(July 7, 2006)



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HIMSS Reports: 2006 National Infrastructure Protection Plan
Released


The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced
today the completion of the National Infrastructure
Protection Plan (NIPP), a comprehensive risk management
framework that clearly defines critical infrastructure
protection roles and responsibilities for all levels of
government, private industry, nongovernmental agencies and
tribal partners.

(July 7, 2006)



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Health-information exchange gets 1st funding


Georgia health-care leaders are inching closer to the goal
of creating an information exchange system. The Georgia
Health Information Exchange, which is composed of local
health-care leaders, has taken another step toward its goal
of creating a system that would let health-care providers,
insurers, pharmacies, laboratories and other professionals
share patient health information securely.

(July 7, 2006)



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Rhode Island Assembly Approves $20 Million Health
Information Exchange


Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri in a release posted
yesterday, outlined a series of health-related reforms
ranging from healthy snacks in schools to tobacco cessation
programs. The release also announced an "Anywhere, Anytime
Health Info: Health Care IT" agenda.

(July 7, 2006)



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Government awards PHR contracts


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has awarded
contracts to healthcare insurers to test personal health
records for Medicare recipients.

(July 7, 2006)



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Patients, not the state, own medical records, says GP


The world’s largest IT project is building an electronic
health record for every NHS patient in England. No one seems
to know who will own it. An historic fudge that served in
the days of paper records seems unlikely to hold when
patients view their own records on the world wide web – and
government and business seek to tap the unprecedented
knowledge base created.

(July 6, 2006)



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Report Examines the RHIO Business Model


It is commonly believed that operational self-sufficiency is
an integral component of a sustainable business model. But
is this the case with regional health information
organizations? A recent report, "Funding RHIO Startup and
Financing for Life: The Survey of Regional Health
Information Finance," published by the Healthcare IT
Transition Group, surveys RHIOs nationwide and examines the
sustainable business model for the data exchange
organizations. The report states that "a thoughtful analysis
of the survey results demands a challenge to conventional
wisdom."

(July 6, 2006)



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Device tracks heart problems, informs doctor over Internet


A pager-sized, implantable device being tested at Saint
Thomas Hospital and dozens of other sites around the country
can correct irregular heartbeats and transmit information
over the Internet to a patient’s physician about possible
problems.

(July 6, 2006)



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UK health service "harms 10 percent of patients"


One in 10 patients admitted to National Health Service
hospitals in Britain is unintentionally harmed and almost a
million safety incidents, more than 2,000 of which were
fatal, were recorded last year, according to a report on
Thursday.

(July 6, 2006)



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Patient safety becomes priority for NHS IT


The NHS National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) has worked
with Connecting for Health to build a rigorous system of
safety checks which may, if necessary, delay product
release, a conference has heard.

(July 6, 2006)



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iSoft begins EPR roll-out at Derby


iSoft has announced that the initial roll-out of its iCM
electronic patient record (EPR) system at Derby Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust is nearing completion on the trust’s
surgical and urology departments.

(July 6, 2006)



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Wireless Devices Can Improve Care of Heart Patients


Heart specialists at Allegheny General Hospital’s
Cardiovascular Institute in Pittsburgh are using wireless
devices in heart failure patients, which can help physicians
detect symptoms earlier and reduce the time patients spend
in the hospital.

(July 5, 2006)



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Funding falls short of healthcare IT request


Funding for the healthcare IT activities fell short of the
White House’s budget request in a recent House
Appropriations Committee bill. However, the appropriation is
an increase over fiscal year 2006 HIT funding.

(July 5, 2006)



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University of Calgary deploys e-records software to 10
divisions


The


University of Calgary
‘s Department of
Medicine has chosen a technology first developed in the U.K.
to house

patient records
for 10 specialist divisions. Initially,
400 users in outpatient clinics affiliated with the

university
will deploy

EMIS Inc.
electronic medical record technology in a
four-year deal worth $2 million.


(July 5, 2006)



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Barron Medical Center goes live with Electronic Medical
Record


By having a common software system for patient records,
the EMR will help to further eliminate information
technology and documentation errors, as well as integrate
clinical information systems throughout the entire Luther
Midelfort system of hospitals and clinics. When the project
is complete, electronic records will replace the current
paper records that Barron Medical Center and Luther
Midelfort use for patient information.

(July 5, 2006)



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MEDSEEK to Build Kingman Regional Medical Center’s Physician
Portal, Providing Access to Clinical Data in One Unified
View




MEDSEEK
, a leading provider of enterprise e-health
solutions, with 500-plus hospital clients around the
country, announced today that it will develop a physician
portal for the 213-bed Kingman Regional Medical Center
(KRMC) in Kingman, Arizona. The physician portal pilot
go-live is planned for June 26th, with full roll-out
scheduled for mid-September.


(July 5, 2006)



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CfH aims to install at 22 acute trusts by October


NHS Connecting for Health and its prime contractors have
told a member of the Commons Public Accounts Committee that
they will deliver at least 22 new patient administration
system (PAS) replacements to NHS acute trusts by the end of
October this year. The figure does not include any London
trusts.

(July 5, 2006)



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KLAS releases midyear listings


Unibased Systems Architecture’s Resource Management System
enterprise-scheduling product was the highest-rated product
in the "Top 20: KLAS Mid-Year Report Card" customer
evaluation of healthcare IT offerings. The Chesterfield,
Mo.-based company’s Resource Management System solution
finished first in the "Best in KLAS" 2005 annual review,
just ahead of Madison, Wis.-based Epic Systems Corp.’s
EpicCare Ambulatory electronic medical record, which also
finished second in last year’s annual review.

(July 5, 2006)



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Hospital PACS Improves Efficiency


St. Luc Hospital in Montreal, Canada, has been using digital
imaging technology to increase productivity and reduce
operating costs.

(July 3, 2006)



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Japan To Create EHR System


Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry plans to
create a computer system that lets hospitals throughout the
country share patient information in an effort to reduce
health care costs.

(July 3, 2006)



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Survey: Most RHIOs are Startups


Forty-eight percent of regional health information
organizations said they are in the start-up phase of
development, according to a survey by the Healthcare IT
Transition Group. Twenty-two percent of respondents said
they are transitioning from start-up to production mode, and
30% said they are in the production phase.

(July 3, 2006)



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Local doctors embrace electronic records


Fort Wayne doctors are ahead of the curve in adopting
electronic medical records, according to a local software
company. But some physicians have limited their use to basic
scan and print digitization, which heavily incorporates
paper records, while shying away from the more sophisticated
interactive data entry systems meshed with
“decision-support” software that help guide – and may
improve – doctors’ decision-making. Medical officials say
electronic health record system capabilities go far beyond
just digitizing paper records and can actually help doctors
diagnose and treat patients. But much depends upon software
capabilities, implementation and management.

(July 2, 2006)



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Nurses Automate Referral Process


Nurses at Boston-based Hebrew Senior Life had a pretty
paper-intensive job.

(July 2, 2006)



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BlackBerry Improves Communication


While not using any specialized health care application with
the BlackBerry handheld messaging device from Waterloo,
Ontario-based Research in Motion, officials at Trillium
Health Centre in Mississauga, Ontario, believe the device
has improved communication amongst its ICU clinicians.

(July 2, 2006)



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Software Sometimes Requires Tweaks


After deploying a mobile charge capture system at Reno
Orthopaedic Clinic in Nevada its 16-physicians went from an
average of 45 days to transmit bills to two days, says Lisa
Davis, CEO at the practice. Physicians use smart phones from
various vendors to capture and transmit charges to the
practice’s billing system.

(July 2, 2006)



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IT Tools for Chronic Disease Management: How Do They Measure
Up?


Chronic disease management systems (CDMS) focus specifically
on managing chronic disease and preventive care, while the
more comprehensive electronic medical record (EMR) documents
the entire patient encounter and provides real-time patient
information.

(July 1, 2006)



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Phone-free Virtual Visits


Aetna covers online doctor-patient communication for insured
members in Florida and California.

(July 1, 2006)



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Leaders From Industry, Academia, Medicine and Government
Team Up To Tackle Issues Surrounding Personal Health Records


To tackle the privacy, business, societal, and technical
issues surrounding personal health records—an integral part
of the national debate on healthcare reform—100 key leaders
from industry, academia, medicine and government will team
up October 10-11 for the first meeting on Personally
Controlled Health Records Infrastructure (PCHRI 2006),
hosted by the Harvard Medical School (HMS) Center for
Biomedical Informatics. "The work done at this meeting will
further the development of the right kind of healthcare
information infrastructure," said keynote speaker Mitch
Kapor, widely known as the founder of Lotus Development
Corporation.

(July 1, 2006)



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AMIA draws decision map


The American Medical Informatics Association aims to make
clinical decision support a routine part of patient care.
With the release Tuesday of its report “A Roadmap for
National Action on Clinical Decision Support,” the group has
begun the journey. Information technology is a critical
component of the plan, which was developed at the request of
the Office of the National Coordinator for Health
Information Technology.

(July 1, 2006)



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Northwest docs to focus on chronic illness


Northwest Physicians Network plans to focus on better
managing chronic illness. The physicians are set to deploy
Soarian Disease Management information technology from
Siemens Medical Solutions to support the management of
chronic heart failure patients. The physician network will
also become the beta site for new modules Siemens is
developing for diabetes and asthma/chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease.

(July 1, 2006)



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National network improves care


Thanks to access to prescription data from across the
country, the emergency department at Wishard Hospital can
treat patients faster than ever – even if they’ve never been
treated at Wishard before. “It’s like night and day,” said
emergency physician J.T. Finnell, MD, of the new system that
provides filled-prescription histories to the docs. “When a
patient arrives, his or her medical chart is processed and
we receive one or two pages of history and lab results in 30
to 60 seconds.”

(July 1, 2006)



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Healthcare IT bill on-again, off-again


Just in time for the humid Washington summer, the momentum
in the House to pass healthcare IT legislation is heating up
– or maybe not. One bill, which was expected to be up for a
House vote during what had been dubbed “Health IT Week,”
June 19-23, stalled in its tracks as House Republicans
expressed concern that it might increase expenditures.

(July 1, 2006)



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Two Systems, One Device


St. Clair Hospital’s barcode journey began in 1992, when the
Pittsburgh-based community hospital served as a development
site for a pharmacy robot. The robot used barcodes to
identify medications it picked off a supply rack. By
scanning the barcode, the robot knew which medication it had
chosen before putting it into the hospital’s distribution
chain. The high-tech system, later acquired by San
Francisco-based McKesson Corp., is still used today.

(July 1, 2006)



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Two years, and counting


Two years after President Bush called for a personal health
record for every American in 10 years, industry leaders
agree on two scores: Progress has been made. It’s not likely
the president’s goal will be achieved in 10 years.

(July 1, 2006)



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Clinics Offer Fast Care and Copy of Records


Patients showing up at a MinuteClinic Inc. non-urgent care
facility can quickly get treated for a standard fee and take
their medical records with them.

(July 1, 2006)



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With Shortage of Nurses, I.T. Becomes More Essential


In light of the current severe shortage of nurses, more
hospitals and group practices are looking for ways to use
information technology to help nurses improve their
efficiency. Clearly, computers can help nurses streamline
many routine administrative tasks. But more important, I.T.
can give nurses better access to the right clinical
information at the right time to support them in the
delivery of care.

(July 1, 2006)



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State Project Pushes EMRs; Some Docs Fret About Future


The Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative envisions building a
statewide health information network that’s anchored by
electronic medical records systems. The collaborative is
testing its proof of concept by spearheading EMR
implementations at physician offices and hospitals in three
communities.

(July 1, 2006)



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Nursing I.T.: From Stations to Bedside


Sometimes short answers say the most. When famed mountaineer
George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest,
he replied "because it is there." Similarly, ask many nurses
and hospital executives why I.T. is increasingly needed at
the bedside and they’ll say "because that’s where the
patient is."

(July 1, 2006)



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Mobile Apps: Plenty of Choices, Challenges


Neil Martin, M.D., chief of neurosurgery at the UCLA Medical
Center, was 200 miles away in San Diego attending meetings
when he received a call about a patient who didn’t wake up
after surgery. In such cases, Martin typically would get
into his car and drive back to the hospital to review the
most recent clinical data and visually check the patient.
But new mobile software has changed the way he operates, so
to speak.

(July 1, 2006)



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A Partner to Go With the Flow


A planned two-year migration to an electronic medical
records system will challenge all departments within
Heartland Health, a delivery system based in St. Joseph, Mo.

(July 1, 2006)



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