Healthcare IT News

HHS Makes Plans to Speed Data Exchange
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At the 2013 HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition on Wednesday, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner and National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, MD, announced plans to accelerate health information exchange in the the U.S. "Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we are improving the way care is delivered while lowering costs," said Tavenner in a statement. "We are already seeing benefits, such as a reduction in hospital readmissions due to these reforms. Health IT and the secure exchange of information across providers are crucial to reforming the system, and must be a routine part of care delivery." Tavenner and Mostashari said the Department of Health & Human Services will set aggressive goals for 2013, with hopes of 50 percent of physician offices using electronic health records and 80 percent of eligible hospitals receiving meaningful use incentive payments by the end of the year. The department will also push harder for interoperability, they said. HHS will increase its emphasis on ensuring electronic exchange across providers – starting by issuing a request for information to get public input about policies that will strengthen the business case for data exchange to ensure health information will follow patients, seamlessly and securely, wherever they get care. Moreover, HHS seeks to drive more effective use of electronic health records through projects such as the Blue Button initiative, which allows Medicare beneficiaries to access their full Medicare records online today. The department is working with the Veterans Administration and more than 450 different organizations to make healthcare information available to patients and health plan members, officials say, and is encouraging Medicare Advantage plans to expand the use of Blue Button to provide beneficiaries with one-click secure access to their health information. As for meaningful use Stage 2, HHS announced that it is implementing rules that define what data must be able to be exchanged between health IT systems, including how data will be structured and coded so that providers will have one uniform way to format and securely send data. It is also taking new steps to ensure the integrity of the MU program is sound, and technology is not being used to game the system. For example, HHS is conducting extensive medical reviews and issuing comparative billing reports that identify providers. At the same time, HHS touted big progress on health IT adoption. EHR implementations have tripled since 2010 – increasing to 44 percent in 2012 – and computerized physician order entry has more than doubled (increased 168 percent) since 2008. "The 2014 standards for electronic health records create the technical capacity for providers to be able to share information with each and with the patient," said Mostashari in a statement. "Through the RFI, we are interested in hearing about policies that could provide an even greater business case for such information ... Read more

Top (HIT) Companies Announce Ground Breaking Alliance …

New Orleans, March 4, 2013 – Top healthcare information technology (HIT) companies Cerner, McKesson, Allscripts, athenahealth, Greenway Medical Technologies® and RelayHealth announced today the launch of the CommonWell Health Alliance™, planned to be an independent not-for-profit organization that will support universal, trusted access to healthcare data through seamless interoperability. This historic effort is aimed at improving the quality of care delivery while working to lower costs for care providers, patients and the industry as a whole. The Alliance intends to be a collaborative effort of suppliers who are focused on achieving data liquidity between systems, in compliance with patient authorizations. The Alliance will define, promote and certify a national infrastructure with common platforms and policies. It also will ensure that HIT products displaying the Alliance seal are certified to work on the national infrastructure" Today’s announcement represents an inflection point in healthcare, with key industry leaders coming together to support the delivery of a national health information exchange,” said John Hammergren, chairman and CEO, McKesson Corporation. “The formation of this alliance takes healthcare a step closer to broad industry interoperability. A national and trusted health information exchange will break down the information silos in healthcare and should dramatically improve the quality and cost effectiveness of care delivery. Creating data liquidity between all HIT developers is fundamental to improving patient care, enhancing the vitality of the healthcare industry, and strengthening the long-term health of our nation.” “We believe the industry needs to step up to the challenges of interoperability,” noted Neal Patterson, co-founder, chairman, CEO and president, Cerner. “If we can rise to the challenge as an industry, we have a chance to deliver a golden era of healthcare. It is a system where consumers not only have a right to their data, but also have the ability to mobilize it in the pursuit of better health. This alliance is about setting aside the admittedly tough politics of this issue to do what is right for the healthcare consumer. We at Cerner are proud to play a leadership role in this exciting effort.”Elements of the Alliance’s national infrastructure will be tested in a local pilot within the next year. Early components will include the following core services: Cross-entity patient linking and matching services: Help developers and providers link and match patients as they transition through care facilities, regardless of the underlying software system Patient consent and data access management: Foster HIPAA-compliant and simple patient-centered management of data sharing consents and authorization. Patient record locator and directed query services: Help providers deliver a history of recent patient care encounters, and, with appropriate authorization, patient data across multiple providers and episodes of care “The formation of the CommonWell Health Alliance will be a significant step forward toward the electronic exchange of health information to support clinicians and patients,” said Janet Marchibroda, director of the Health Innovation Initiative at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “The founding members of the Alliance are focused on exactly the right foundational areas, and it’s terrific to see industry leaders stepping up to solve the problem of interoperability on behalf of providers and patients everywhere.” “Allscripts’ vision has been to create a true Connected Community of Health. We believe open platforms are required to realize that vision and make the improvements our healthcare delivery system needs to dramatically improve outcomes while reducing cost,” said Paul Black, president and CEO, Allscripts. “This alliance provides a framework that will enable patient identification and record-sharing for providers across the nation. This is good for care providers, for patients and for the country. We are proud to be a founding member and to help lead this important effort.” “Greenway has anticipated this evolution to a smarter healthcare system based on open collaboration and data flow,” said Tee Green, president and CEO, Greenway. “We’ve been telling caregivers the marketplace can provide it and sustain it, and they are right to expect it. Consumers are no different, and a patient-enabled approach to data access will foster a deeper and more efficient patient-provider relationship. Allowing data to flow more freely fits the needs of a mobile society just as providers are taking on more financial risk in coordinating care. We are committed to the Alliance goals and our ongoing participation as this initiative grows.” “We’ve built athenahealth on the vision that healthcare needs an information backbone that facilitates and incents true health information exchange. However, the promise of the free flow of health information and the reality of it today are worlds apart,” said Jonathan Bush, CEO and chairman, athenahealth, Inc. “We support the CommonWell Health Alliance because we believe that being open matters, especially when it comes to patient care. CommonWell’s efforts to bring major developers together to pilot patient linking and matching across IT systems and care settings is an important step in the right direction. We look forward to helping lead these efforts as a founding member of the Alliance. ”Members of the Alliance are committed to collaborating with all HIT developers to realize the vision of integrated healthcare and encourage other HIT companies to join the CommonWell Health Alliance by visiting www.commonwellalliance.org. The founding members of the Alliance will be holding a press conference on March 4, 2013, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. CT at the HIMSS 2013 Annual Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans. About CommonWell Health Alliance CommonWell Health Alliance is anticipated to be an independent not-for-profit trade association of HIT companies that will work together to create universal access to patient healthcare data. The Alliance will be open to all health information technology developers that are committed to making patient’s data available to themselves and providers regardless of where care occurs. Alliance members will support the belief that provider access to this data must be built-in to health information technologies at a reasonable cost for use by a broad range of healthcare providers and the patients they serve. The founding members of CommonWell Health Alliance invite all HIT suppliers to join us in working together to provide seamless, trusted access to health information, in support of better, more cost-effective care for our patients and communities. About Cerner Cerner Corp. (NASDAQ: CERN) is contributing to the systemic change of health and care delivery. For more than 30 years Cerner has been executing its vision to make healthcare safer and more efficient. We started with the foundation of digitizing paper processes and now offer the most comprehensive array of information software, professional services, medical device integration, remote hosting and employer health and wellness services. Cerner systems are used by everyone from individual consumers, to single-doctor practices, hospitals, employers and entire countries. Taking what we’ve learned over more than three decades, Cerner is building on the knowledge that is in the system to support evidence-based clinical decisions, prevent medical errors and empower patients in their care. Cerner® solutions are licensed by approximately 10,000 facilities around the world, including more than 2,700 hospitals; 4,150 physician practices; 45,000 physicians; 550 ambulatory facilities, such as laboratories, ambulatory centers, behavioral health centers, cardiac facilities, radiology clinics and surgery centers; 800 home health facilities; 40 employer sites and 1,750 retail pharmacies. About McKesson McKesson Corporation (NYSE: MCK), currently ranked 14th on the FORTUNE 500, is a healthcare services and information technology company dedicated to making the business of healthcare run better. We partner with payers, hospitals, physician offices, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies and others across the spectrum of care to build healthier organizations that deliver better care to patients in every setting. McKesson helps its customers improve their financial, operational, and clinical performance with solutions that include pharmaceutical and medical-surgical supply management, healthcare information technology, and business and clinical services. About Allscript Allscripts (NASDAQ: MDRX) delivers the insights that healthcare providers require to generate world-class outcomes. The company's Electronic Health Record, practice management and other clinical, revenue cycle, connectivity and information solutions create a Connected Community of Health™ for physicians, hospitals and post-acute organizations. About Athenahealth athenahealth, Inc. is a leading provider of cloud-based Best in KLAS electronic health record (EHR), practice management, and care coordination services to medical groups and health systems. athenahealth’s mission is to be the most trusted service to medical care givers, helping them do well by doing the right thing. About Greenway Medical Technologies Greenway Medical Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: GWAY) delivers innovative software and business service solutions for healthcare providers through its PrimeSUITE® platform. As a certified and fully integrated electronic health record, practice management and interoperability solution, Greenway PrimeSUITE helps improve care coordination, quality and cost-efficiency as part of a smarter, sustainable healthcare system. Thousands of care providers across primary care and more than 30 specialties and sub-specialties use cloud-based or on-premise Greenway® solutions in healthcare enterprises, physician practices and clinics nationwide. About RelayHealth RelayHealth, McKesson’s connectivity business, enables the trusted exchange of clinical, financial and administrative information between patients, providers, payers, pharmacies, pharmaceutical manufacturers and government agencies. RelayHealth processes nearly 16 billion healthcare transactions annually by integrating the delivery of high-quality care and improving the financial outcomes for its ... Read more


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AXrEM, the Association of Healthcare Technology Providers for Imaging, Radiotherapy & Care, which represents all major medical imaging manufacturers active in the UK, recently published a statement highlighting its concern about the potential impact of inappropriate deployment of Framework Agreements. These are an alternative procurement channel to full EU procurement competition. Siemens Healthcare today announced its support of AXrEM’s concerns and added to its calls for a transparent and competitive market landscape. AXrEM has identified growing evidence that some frameworks are operated with limited engagement from the supplier or purchasing community, and have not been established with clarity of scope. A recent example for concern includes a Framework for Maintenance of Medical Equipment where only two suppliers were appointed. In this specific case, no Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) were successfully engaged, believed to be due to the lack of transparency and manner in which the opportunity was advertised. Peter Harrison, Managing Director UK at Siemens Healthcare states, “Framework operators typically seek to leverage scale economies and bulk purchasing power to secure the lowest cost to buyers. We absolutely support competition, but scale economy and buying power are clearly diluted if there are too many frameworks with overlapping scope.” Peter Harrison continues, “We are concerned that certain private entities or NHS organisations seek to establish frameworks with an unclear mandate, typically evidenced by an open-ended list of framework participants on the buy side. If established with limited supply side engagement, there is a danger they fail to leverage competition when offering a procurement channel to buyers.” “We believe it is important that buyers have access to the competitive medical imaging landscape. The danger is that Trusts perceive that by using a framework they have fulfilled obligations to entertain a range of competitive offerings,” Peter Harrison concludes. “Clearly, healthcare providers need to ensure that any procurement is compliant and that they are trading through a legitimate framework that ensures provision of a range of competitive offerings. Beyond restricted choice, the ultimate risk is that contracts awarded under such frameworks are subjected to procurement ... Read more

Safety Demands Better Device Integration…

Medical devices and health IT systems are very different species, each with their own strengths and vulnerabilities. But in an increasingly wired healthcare industry, they're necessarily becoming more and more intertwined. At the day-long  Clinical Engineering and IT Leadership Symposium on Sunday at HIMSS13, healthcare experts explored the challenges of medical device integration, taking a close and often critical look at issues such as privacy and security, patient safety, human and technological error and regulatory issues. In his session, David Classen, MD, chief medical informatics officer at Pascal Metrics and associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah, showed how patient safety must be the key driver for smarter device integration. Classen offered some alarming examples of how complex marriages of technology – smart pumps, patient monitors, EHRs, CPOE systems – can lead to adverse events. But he also spotlighted strategies to link these disparate pieces of software in ways that won't fail the patient. Safety disasters involving poor device integration are "far more common than we realize," said Classen. In today's "complicated ICU," he said, "we tolerate a lot of unreliability in healthcare that other industries would not." No question, suboptimal technology is dangerous. "A technology failure, when you have a highly IT-rich environment, changes the safety net," he said. But the human factor is critical, too. Consider the packaging mistake that led to the wrong medication being dispensed, even though the barcoder said it was OK. Opportunities for error abound. A system update that disables critical safety checks may go unnoticed. A well-intentioned nurse may try to override a badly designed infusion pump to get the correct dose. Add to this the fact that implementation strategies vary wildly from hospitals to hospital. If the airline industry approached technology like this, "we'd be seeing crashes all over the country," said Classen. No question, device integration, especially in the ICU, is "really complicated," he added. "We were naive to think it could be solved so quickly." But by taking a "sociotechnical approach" to integration at the hospital level, and pursuing smarter regulation of devices and health IT at the federal level, we're on a path to a more unified – and safer – hospital environment. "We have a lot to do to improve patient safety," said Classen. "And health IT needs to be a big part of that."Safety demands better device integration Medical devices and health IT systems are very different species, each with their own strengths and vulnerabilities. But in an increasingly wired healthcare industry, they're necessarily becoming more and more intertwined. At the day-long  Clinical Engineering and IT Leadership Symposium on Sunday at HIMSS13, healthcare experts explored the challenges of medical device integration, taking a close and often critical look at issues such as privacy and security, patient safety, human and technological error and regulatory issues. In his session, David Classen, MD, chief medical informatics officer at Pascal Metrics and associate professor of medicine at the University of Utah, showed how patient safety must be the key driver for smarter device integration. Classen offered some alarming examples of how complex marriages of technology – smart pumps, patient monitors, EHRs, CPOE systems – can lead to adverse events. But he also spotlighted strategies to link these disparate pieces of software in ways that won't fail the patient. Safety disasters involving poor device integration are "far more common than we realize," said Classen. In today's "complicated ICU," he said, "we tolerate a lot of unreliability in healthcare that other industries would not." No question, suboptimal technology is dangerous. "A technology failure, when you have a highly IT-rich environment, changes the safety net," he said. But the human factor is critical, too. Consider the packaging mistake that led to the wrong medication being dispensed, even though the barcoder said it was OK. Opportunities for error abound. A system update that disables critical safety checks may go unnoticed. A well-intentioned nurse may try to override a badly designed infusion pump to get the correct dose. Add to this the fact that implementation strategies vary wildly from hospitals to hospital. If the airline industry approached technology like this, "we'd be seeing crashes all over the country," said Classen. No question, device integration, especially in the ICU, is "really complicated," he added. "We were naive to think it could be solved so quickly." But by taking a "sociotechnical approach" to integration at the hospital level, and pursuing smarter regulation of devices and health IT at the federal level, we're on a path to a more unified – and safer – hospital environment. "We have a lot to do to improve patient safety," said Classen. "And health IT needs to be a big part of ... Read more

Rocky Road Ahead for BI
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Clinical and business intelligence, often called BI, for short, is the “hottest space in healthcare IT, and it’s going to be a free-for-all,” Dave Garets, warned a standing-room-only audience at the Clinical and Business Intelligence Symposium March 3 at HIMSS 13. Garets most recently served as executive director at The Advisory Board Company and before that as CEO of HIMSS Analytics. He said BI today is where EHRs were years ago – at the beginning.  The market is fragmented, which equals limited value. Healthcare organizations employ multiple BI solutions. There is duplicate and overlapping reporting going on, definition of terms is non-existent or lacking, point solutions present challenges. The bottom line? “You find out you don’t really have good data,” Garets said. However, BI, like the EHR has, is moving toward an enterprise view, he said, and once that happens, “you can start doing analytics,” he said. “It’s possible to add more and more data – a larger variety of data, not just structured data. Years ago healthcare organizations build their own EHRs (Partners HealthCare, which did just that, today is in the midst of an Epic rollout). Then came a best-of-breed environment. Today, it’s a best-of-suite environment for most organizations, Garets noted. “I don't see why you would treat the BI space any different than that,” he said. “You’ll find a lot of challenges along the way,” he warned. “You’re going to have change management issues coming out of your ears.” Garets recommended getting senior leadership involved, and suggested that IT should not be “driving the bus.” “You don’t want to claim this in the IT domain,” he said. Both clinical and business issues arise, he noted. A COO is probably the right leader for BI projects. Healthcare organizations will find out that putting in a $3 million Epic system is just the start,” he predicted. “That’s a start that gets you in the game,” he said. To those who thought they were already there, he said, “you’re not.” It’s going to be a hard transition even for the 10.1 percent of healthcare Organizations that have competed Stage 6 on the HIMSS Analytics EMRAM scale, he said. However, the sea change in healthcare will occur. Along the way, there may be boulders, giant mousetraps, and flesh eating bacteria. Transformation may take longer than anyone expects, but it will take place, he concluded. “It’s a culture change sort of thing,” he ... Read more

CB Gets Patient 'Insight' via App…

An ‘Insight Dashboard’ displaying patient experience data is being developed for use by the NHS Commissioning Board from April. A paper being presented by national director of patients and information Tim Kelsey to an NHS CB meeting today, says the dashboard will be available to the board on a monthly basis as an iPad application. The dashboard will have two views – one based on data provided to the NHS about the experience of patients and another showing information on “conversations being had about the NHS”. It will provide a national overview with the ability to view individual organisations and incorporate as much near real-time data as possible, the report says. The first view will include; information from NHS Choices on number of comments, responses and key issues; data from the NHS 111 when available; friends and family test data; complaints data; staff survey friends and family test question; and patient survey data. The second view will include data from NHS Choices, NHS 111, YouGov, Ipsos Mori and others. It will cover; the volume of ‘conversations’; sentiment; trending topics; key words; and overall volume of comments by media type such as Twitter or mainstream news. Different dashboards will be developed for care settings such as acute, mental health or primary care. The paper says a huge number of online conversations about the NHS are taking place on the web and on social media, but not being measured by the NHS CB. Each month approximately 500,000 unique online comments are made about the NHS, but the board is engaging in very few of these conversations “The NHS engaging in these conversations bwill e hugely beneficial for patient experience and more broadly the reputation of the NHS,” it says The paper explains that it is possible to setup reports on any topic, from the NHS in general to individual events such as the Francis Report and these will be made available to the CB via the dashboard. The app will be incorporated into the Integrated Intelligence Tool, also being developed by the CB. This tool will be a portal for a set of indicators against which the CB will judge how it is performing as a commissioner. The paper being presented today also talks about the readiness of clinical commissioning groups to deliver on the requirement to use insight data from patients and the public to shape the commissioning and planning of services. It says that most CCGs have solid arrangements in respect of patient insight in place before they assume their full powers on 1 April. However, about ten CCGs are likely to be authorised with conditions relating to patient ... Read more

HIT can create barriers for underserved populations…

While health information technology has the potential to improve care, it also erect barriers to care for marginalized and underserved populations, according to a new paper from a coalition of advocacy organizations. The report was created ... Read more

5 CIOs Imagine Health IT in 10 Years…

Each year near the HIMSS Annual Conference and Exhibition, CHIME and HIMSS together name a CIO of the Year, and each year Healthcare IT News interviews the winner about the biggest challenges faced, the changing role of the CIO, and we also ask him or her to look to the future and say what they envision for healthcare IT 10 years ahead. Here are the responses from the past five CIOs of the Year. 2012: James Turnbull, CIO at University of Utah Health Care "We're just wrestling with exactly that issue here. We’ve just gone through our capital budget again this year. Our capital budget for IT, for the first time, has actually started to go down. The reason for that is we’ve basically installed a very rich revenue cycle management, we have a decision support environment in place, a great data warehouse. The baseline is all in place now. I think what we’re going to be moving to is mHealth – that’s where it's going to go. "I think telemedicine is about ready to just explode. Not traditional telemedicine where we think of a doctor or a patient doing a consult with a doctor in a remote location, but telemedicine with the patient themselves within their home settings. And, that’s so inexpensive. It’s very inexpensive on the technology side. You really need to change your care delivery model and resources that you have here at the hospital that are supporting that delivery system. I think it’s going to be so different 10 years from now." 2011: Rick Schooler, vice president and CIO of Orlando Health, a seven-hospital health system with a 355-member IT staff. "We are going to be responsible to manage a bigger population of people with more risk in terms of our ability to keep them healthy. We’re going to be held accountable to managing readmissions, to reducing harm. Our board has given us specific goals around readmissions and mortality and harm. I think organizations are going to be paying much more attention to the quality of care because value-based purchasing is going to be real. We are going to be reimbursed less if our quality doesn’t improve, and, quite frankly, it may be less even if it does improve. You know, you’d better be a leader. You better be a team of leaders if you’re going to survive both kinds of things happening: continuing to provide the quality you’re going to have to provide to survive in the future – your alignment with other organizations as we all pursue what we are all defining as we go as accountable care – and to be able to deal with what is now CMS, but in the near future is going to be a bundled payment across the continuum." 2010: Chuck Christian, CIO of Good Samaritan Hospital, a 232-bed hospital in Vincennes, Ind. "I think we’re just starting to scratch the surface of what we can do. I live in Indiana, so we have the opportunity here just because of the infrastructure for health information exchange to do a lot of things that other states can only dream about. With the work that’s currently being done, and what’s planned to be done between now and 2015, I think we’re going to see a more connected medical record for the patient." 2009: William Spooner, senior vice president, CIO, Sharp HealthCare in San Diego "We will see an awful lot more workflow integration considering all of the devices around the patient, with the patient as the center. Everything from the patient bed that can produce measurements that are sent to the EMR such as “the bed rail’s up; the bed rail’s down. Here’s how much it’s elevated” so that you have a sort of comprehensive alerting system. There will be more and more integration of the medical devices directly into EMR, and the use of analytics to help in the decision process." 2008: Patricia Skarulis, vice president, CIO, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York "Healthcare will be all digital and interconnected. We as an industry are being asked to solve a good portion of the healthcare problem through more widespread use of healthcare information technology. I believe that the next two or so years will be the most exciting ones for our industry. I hope we can look back and say this has been a job well ... Read more

New Report, Policy Recommendations Delivered at White …

The use of health IT could not only help to improve the quality of care, but also eliminate disparities in care among communities of color, according to a new report released today at a White House Summit hosted by the Office of the National ... Read more

Top 10 Hospital Technology Issues for 2013…

Healthcare reform, accountable care organizations, readmissions and reimbursement rates are just a few of the challenges facing today's healthcare leaders, according to a new report from ECRI Institute, a non-profit evidence-based practice ... Read more

Info Centre to Run DMIC
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New Data Management Integration Centres, being developed within the NHS Commissioning Board, will have to become part of the Health and Social Care Information Centre to operate legally. Staff, assets and liabilities of the centres will have to be transferred to the information centre by April. Nine DMICs are being set up by commissioning support units to provide data validation, integration and storage for clinical commissioning groups, CSUs and local authorities in regard to their public health role. An HSCIC spokesperson explained that the NHS CB and the Department of Health had considered options for how DMICs could lawfully and securely process patient identifiable data and agreed that incorporating them within the HSCIC was the best option. She said discussions were ongoing about how DMICs would work with the HSCIC and how they could make efficient use of the centre’s existing data services and tools. The information centre's latest board minutes include a risk register which describes how NHS organisations are openly planning to establish patient identifiable data repositories for their own area of interest. In doing so, they are failing to recognise the centre’s role established under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, the report explains. The register identifies the proposed establishment of DMICs within the commissioning board as a concern. The chief executive’s report describes the background to work done over the past year on the creation of regional DMICs to, “help the NHS CB to hold CCGs to account for improvement in quality of healthcare and patient outcomes through better commissioning”. “This had raised a number of issues and it was now mooted that DMICs were brought under the remit of the new HSCIC in order to make the most efficient use of standard toolsets/solutions for data storing, linking and sharing,” the report says. “As this arrangement was only agreed in December 2012, there is a great deal of detail to be resolved including staff transfer, assets and liabilities transfer and governance arrangements.” Implications for information governance are also being ... Read more

Trusts Could Lose Contracts Without EPR…

The NHS Commissioning Board is drawing up plans designed to dramatically accelerate the adoption of electronic patient records by NHS hospital trusts.New guidance outlining ‘severe’ financial consequences, including loss of contracts, for NHS trusts that fail to take action to begin implementing EPRs by April 2014, is due to be published this June. The plans being prepared are designed to compel trusts to provide the new data flows required to improve quality of services and provide transparency. The NHS CB believes hospitals can only provide the data flows needed with EPRs. EHI understands that NHS providers will have to show they are taking urgent action and meaningful steps to EPR by 2014, with full implementation a year later.The NHS CB is likely to warn it may withhold contracts from hospitals if they fail to take steps, an action that would be financially disastrous to a trust. Another option will be to write the requirement to provide new data flows into clinical commissioning group contracts. At least one source has told EHI that one option being considered is to make penalties so severe that, “they will only have to be imposed once or twice”.Tim Kelsey, NHS CB national director for patients and information, confirmed to EHI this week that a scheme was being worked on with guidance due in June.“We do expect the service to take the requirement on data flows seriously, but do recognize this is a real challenge for many. Proportionality will be vital.”He said a dialogue would be needed between the CB and trusts and that financial sanctions would be a last resort. Speaking earlier this month alongside health secretary Jeremy Hunt, Kelsey said trusts would face “serious repercussions” if they failed to implement EPRs by 2015.The need for a renewed effort on EPRs is thought to be backed by Hunt and NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson.Hunt has made clear how important he believes EPRs are to NHS reform. Speaking at the Cambridge Health Network he said interoperable EPRs, the elusive holy grail of the national programme for IT in the NHS, remained the right objective, but Labour’s delivery had been “wholly wrong”.New EPR systems would be locally bought rather than centrally procured, with great hopes being placed in new technology creating an opportunity for SMEs and enabling a decisive shift from big traditional, expensive systems.With no new money available for the investment, trusts will have to find the money from existing budgets. Under the new scheme trusts will not be required to take any particular system, or set of clinical tools, but must be able to provide near real-time data on quality and outcomes to commissioners, regulators and the public.Massive new flows of patient-level clinical data forms the basis for care.data, which will integrate health and social care data for commissioners. It will also be essential for the publication of consultant-level outcomes data due to start this summer.The NHS CB has made it clear that the Powere of Information strategy can only be achieved if hospital trusts implement EPRs, now identified as the essential foundation to a digital NHS. In a January EHI interview Kelsey said: “We’ve said that by April 2014 we are expecting a flow of data out of hospital electronic records, and this clearly implies trusts must have electronic records in place.”The new ‘implied EPR’ strategy is nothing if not ambitious: in two years it aims to achieve what NPfIT failed to achieve in a decade with the benefit of billions in investment. To help accelerate roll out efforts EHI understands the NHS CB aims to emulate the US Regional Extension Centres model - a federally funded network of 62 training and education centres that have played a key role in accelerating adoption of EPRs among primary care ... Read more


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The FDA has approved the Advisa DR MRI SureScan pacing system, a second-generation pacemaker designed for use with MRI machines, according to device maker Medtronic. Advisa MRI was specifically tested and approved for use as labeled with MRI ... Read more

AHIMA IDs Clinical Documentation Challenges in EHRs…

Three clinical documentation and record management challenges in electronic health record systems were identified by the American Health Information Management Association at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's HIT Policy Committee meeting this week. The problems which include an inability to meet business requirements for a provider's record of care for a patient; subpar management, preservation and disclosure of health records; and a lack of focus on data quality, information integrity and solid documentation practices--were outlined by AHIMA Foundation Director of Research Michelle Dougherty, who could not understate the importance of remedying the situation quickly. "If clinical documentation was wrong when it was used for billing or legal purposes, it was wrong when it was used by another clinician, researcher, public health authority or quality reporting agency," Dougherty said in her testimony at the meeting. "It's crucial to address data quality and record integrity now before health information exchanges become widespread." Dougherty listed four recommendations for healthcare leaders to prioritize for such a push, including: Advancing information management and information governance in healthcare Implementing health IT standards for records management and evidentiary support Working with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services toward the establishment of contemporary requirements for medical records ,Utilizing the knowledge of health information management professionals for the support of EHR deployment. "HIM professionals can help ensure that electronic health records reach their full potential by assisting healthcare organizations, the government, EHR vendors and other stakeholders develop procedures to make sure the material collected is accurate and that it is clear who and when the information was entered," AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon said in a statement.Added Dougherty, "EHRs offer so much potential, but standards of practice haven't been adopted across all systems.  This can lead to clinicians checking off services they haven't performed or material being incorrectly copied and pasted."Copying and pasting of EHR information is common among physicians, according to a study published last month in the journal Critical Care Medicine. According to the researchers, the notes of more than four-fifths (82 percent) of the residents and three-fourths (74 percent) of the attendings who participated in the research contained at least 20 percent of copied ... Read more

Selenia Dimensions Breast Tomosynthesis from Hologic…

The Selenia Dimensions system is the only one:  That when combined with digital mammography, has been shown to increase cancer detection by 27% and increase invasive cancer detection by 40%. That had a 15% reduction in pre-arbitration false positive rates in a major European study when using 3D mammography plus 2D digital mammography compared to using 2D alone. That has been installed in over 50 countries around the world since 2008 and the only ONE that has FDA approval in the U.S.  That has over 60 citations in trade publications, abstracts and scientific ... Read more

eHealth Initiative Unveils First Health IT Cancer …

The eHealth Initiative (eHI) has unveiled its first-ever Health IT Cancer Resources Guide, a comprehensive overview of the digital tools and technologies available today that help patients and their families, caregivers and support networks understand, treat and cope with cancer.“A diagnosis of cancer strikes fear in every patient, their family members and friends, and coping with this disease is extraordinarily difficult. The Health IT Cancer Resources Guide will help patients become aware of and take advantage of the many outstanding digital resources available today that can help them understand their condition, make informed treatment decisions, anticipate their care needs, and connect with others who have had similar experiences,” said Jennifer Covich Bordenick, Chief Executive Officer of eHI. “It is our sincere hope that patients will use these tools to help alleviate the physical, emotional, and psychological effects that are oftentimes associated with cancer.”The guide lists 76 tools ranging from mobile applications to web sites to social networks that aim to improve cancer care. It was developed by eHI’s National Council on Cancer and Technology, which included representatives from American Cancer Society and American Society of Clinical Oncologists, and is organized in five sections: decision making, education, treatment management, social support and lifestyle management.eHI developed the guide based on the findings of the Issue Brief on eHealth Tools and Cancer Care, a review of 124 articles, which examined how telemedicine, mobile health, internet-based technologies and social media are being used in cancer care today. The issue brief highlighted the meaningful impact eHealth tools have on care including the removal of geographic barriers, enhanced decision-making capabilities and improved patient-provider communication.“eHealth Initiative has produced a remarkable compilation of patient resources that are digitally accessible. The breadth of these resources is outstanding, sourced as they are from the full spectrum of the cancer community, including physician driven professional organizations, patient organizations and government agencies,” said Peter Yu, President of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. “The breadth is matched by the quality of these resources. As our country's demographics evolve to an older population, at greater risk for cancer, but at the same time more digitally sophisticated, this work sets us on a forward path that leads to greater patient engagement in their own health decisions.”More than half a million Americans die from cancer each year; the leading causes of cancer deaths are lung, prostate and colon in men, and lung, breast, and colon in women. In 2013, a total of 1,660,290 new cancer cases and 580,350 deaths from cancer are projected to occur in the United States1.“We hope this guide will be a valuable and unique resource for patients, family caregivers, and medical professionals to help patients understand and manage their care most effectively,” said Len Lichtenfeld, M.D., Deputy Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society and eHI board member.About the eHealth Initiative: The eHealth Initiative (eHI) is a Washington D.C.-based, independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to drive improvements in the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare through information and information technology. eHI is the only national organization that represents all of the stakeholders in the healthcare industry. Working with its membership, eHI advocates for the use of health IT that is practical, sustainable and addresses stakeholder needs, particularly those of ... Read more

Imaging Technologies Transformed By New Modeling …

Researchers are improving the performance of technologies ranging from medical CT scanners to digital cameras using a system of models to extract specific information from huge collections of data and then reconstructing images like a jigsaw ... Read more


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The IT and medical technology company Sectra (STO: SECT B) has signed a contract in the UK to supply the medical imaging IT system, Sectra PACS, to the Salisbury, Wight and South Hampshire Domain NHS Trust (SWASH) consortium. The contract runs for seven years. The consortium’s choice of Sectra as its preferred supplier of the region-wide PACS was publicly announced in a press release in December 2012. “It is very encouraging to see that our efforts in the UK market have lead to this order. The UK is a highly advanced medical market with strict requirements regarding quality and service, and this order confirms that we are a very good choice for customers with high demands,” says Torbjörn Kronander, President of Sectra. SWASH is implementing IT systems that interact with each other so data relating to medical imaging examinations can be seamlessly accessible across all NHS organizations within the Portsmouth, Southampton, Hampshire and surrounding areas signed up to the consortium. Sectra PACS is a web-based performance solution for wide-area radiology, enabling efficient workload-sharing across multiple sites, even for very large image stacks over strained networks. By implementing Sectra PACS, the six NHS (National Health Service) Trusts involved in the consortium will be able to benefit from a more efficient flow of images and information throughout the region. Images and information will be available to the reading radiologist regardless of where in the region the images were originally taken, which will result in shorter lead times, thus improving service to referring physicians. In the end, the patient benefits from shorter waiting times and improved care through increased flexibility in where their radiology examinations are performed. NHS Trusts involved in the consortium include: Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust. The information in this press release is such that Sectra AB (publ) is obligated to disclose in compliance with the Swedish Securities and Clearing Operations Act. The information was submitted for publication on 8 February, 2013 at 08:45 a.m. (CET). For further information, please contact: Dr. Torbjörn Kronander, CEO and President, Sectra AB, 46 705 23 52 27 Pictures: http://flickr.com/photos/sectramedicalsystems Press room: www.sectra.com/medical/press About Sectra Sectra develops and sells IT systems and services for radiology, women’s health, orthopedics and rheumatology. More than 1,400 hospitals, clinics and imaging centers worldwide use the systems daily, together performing over 70 million radiology examinations annually. This makes Sectra one of the world-leading companies within systems for handling digital radiology images. In Scandinavia, Sectra is the market leader with more than 50% of all film-free installations. Sectra’s systems have been installed in North America, Scandinavia and most major countries in Europe and the Far East. Sectra was founded in 1978 and has its roots in Linköping University in Sweden. The company’s business operation includes cutting-edge products and services within the niche segments of medical systems and secure communication systems. Sectra has offices in 12 countries and operates through partners worldwide. Sales in the 2011/2012 fiscal year totaled SEK 823 million. The Sectra share is quoted on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm AB exchange. For more information, visit ... Read more

New Claron Nil App for BlackBerry 10 Showcasing at …

Anytime, Anywhere Medical Image Viewing App Now Available for BlackBerry 10 Smartphones February 4, 2013, Toronto—Claron Technology has been invited to showcase its new BlackBerry® 10 app for the Nil family of medical imaging viewers at BlackBerry Experience Forum events. Taking advantage of the enhanced multimedia and multi-touch functionality of the new BlackBerry 10 platform, the Nil app supports anytime, anywhere web-based review of a full range of medical imaging modalities and reports, such as X-Ray, CT and MRI. Claron will demonstrate the new app’s advanced features and convenience at the BlackBerry Experience events in Toronto on February 4 and Vancouver on February 13. The Nil app for BlackBerry 10 is compatible with the newly launched BlackBerry® Z10 smartphone, as well as the coming BlackBerry® Q10. The app is available today at no cost on the BlackBerry® World™ storefront. With single-touch, ultra-fast functionality, the Claron app accesses a Nil viewer running either on Claron’s NilCloud or a medical facility’s dedicated Nil server. It complements Claron’s zero-footprint Nil web viewer available on any desktop, tablet or other smartphones. Nil provides medical facilities with an ideal complement to their existing PACS solution for secure, streamlined image access beyond the enterprise or existing IT infrastructure. Nil enables image access on-the-fly and takes advantage of highly optimized client-server communication to remain responsive even over limited bandwidth and high latency connections, such as cellular 3G. Innovative Nil technology provides authorized users sophisticated exam viewing and manipulation capabilities, including 2D, multi-planar reformatting (MPR), 3D and echocardiology with full cine. Its window/level, zoom, pan, rotate and related features enable comprehensive image manipulation in either single or multiple window display. “As an early and groundbreaking mobile platform with a high level of security, BlackBerry has always had a strong following in business and healthcare enterprises,” says Claudio Gatti, co-founder and co-CEO of Claron.  “We believe this will only grow with the new BlackBerry 10 platform and all its security and multimedia features.  Claron is pleased to be among the firms invited to participate in the premiere enterprise events for BlackBerry 10 and to showcase our new BlackBerry app to business, IT and healthcare leaders.  Use of Nil has been growing rapidly in general and we anticipate similar strong response for our new mobile technology in particular.” “Healthcare is an important part of the BlackBerry customer base, and we’re pleased that Claron has launched the Nil app for BlackBerry 10,” says Derek Peper, Vice President, Enterprise Partnerships, at BlackBerry. “The new BlackBerry 10 smartphones offer significantly faster performance and higher resolution displays—excellent for viewing medical images.  We are extremely pleased to have an innovative partner like Claron as part of the BlackBerry Experience Forum events.” About Claron Technology, Inc Claron is dedicated to the application of image processing, image sharing and image distribution in medicine. It has extensive experience in developing systems that help clinicians visualize, analyze, and securely distribute medical images on a variety of different platforms from desktop to smartphones. Claron helps healthcare providers deliver more value to their patient by making physicians more efficient and connected. For more details, visit www.clarontech.com. BlackBerry, RIM, Research In Motion and related trademarks, names and logos are the property of Research In Motion Limited (RIM). RIM is not responsible for any third party products or services. Media Contact:Jeanne-Marie PhillipsHealthFlash ... Read more

King Khalid University Hospital Selects Health …

University Hospital in Riyadh pioneers use of Datix IT solution in Saudi teaching hospitals to deliver quality patient services and secure the highest accreditation Riyadh and London – 8 January 2013: Health Matrix, a leader Healthcare IT solutions provider today announced that King Khalid University Hospital (KKUH) in Riyadh has chosen Datix patient safety software for incident and risk management throughout the organiation. KKUH is the first university hospital in Saudi Arabia to use Datix to manage quality and plans to roll out the software to over 5000 staff across all departments, including nursing and administration. The hospital’s adoption of Datix software plays a key role in KKUH’s next application for accreditation from Accreditation Canada, due in 2014, when it is aiming to achieve the highest level. The accreditation programme is an internationally recognised standard for quality healthcare services. Dr Farheen Shaikh, Director of Quality Management Department (QM) at King Khalid University Hospital said, “The leadership of King Khalid University Hospital is committed to providing high quality and compassionate healthcare to the Saudi community. We encourage and support the culture of safety and quality throughout our organisation. The adoption of an electronic system to manage quality will be key to our success to deliver on our vision and mission and achieve the highest level of accreditation. Datix software is proven within the healthcare community internationally and provides many options that meet our requirements both in the Quality department and across the hospital. The professionalism and training that Health Matrix offers will be essential for us as we roll out the system to all our staff.” Datix delivers safety, risk and governance through a number of integrated software modules and will replace the existing in-house system, significantly reducing the time spent by the QM Department staff having to extract data manually. The hospital is initially implementing Datix Incident reporting and Dashboards, making it easier to interpret data for users at all levels of the organisation. Staff will access Datix via an icon on the desktop. Senior management will be able to review incidents easier and faster from all operational areas of the hospital, including medication, technology and laboratories. Future plans include the roll out of additional modules including complaint handling, risk register and patient experience. “Datix is committed to improving patient safety and our web-based software is widely used within both public and private healthcare organisations worldwide. The solution provides the safety, risk and governance elements required to enable an organisation like King Khalid University Hospital to have a comprehensive oversight of its risk management activities and ensure quality of all of its delivered healthcare services.” said Jonathan Hazan, Chief Executive at Datix. Abdul Rahman Qasim, Chief Executive Officer at Health Matrix concluded, “Healthcare is a high risk industry and the harm done to patients by healthcare organizations remains a significant public health issue in many countries. Our passion is to work with healthcare organisations to adopt IT solutions that have been developed to improve the quality of care delivered. We look forward to working with King Khalid University Hospital to implement Datix software and support their quality management program.” About King Khalid University Hospital King Saud University is the premier institution of higher education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and was established in 1957. In addition to scholarship and research, King Saud University provides health and social services to the entire Saudi community. In 1982, a dedicated university hospital was opened and was named King Khalid University Hospital. This facility is an 800 bed facility with all general and subspecialty medical services. It contains a special outpatient building, more than 20 operating rooms, and a fully equipped and staffed laboratory, radiology, and pharmacy services in addition to all other supporting services. As well as a College of Medicine, the hospital provides free primary, secondary care services for Saudi patients from Northern Riyadh area. Inpatients and outpatients receive hospital services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A second hospital, King Abdulaziz University Hospital, was founded in 1956, but only affiliated to the college in 1976. For more information, please visit: www.medicine.ksu.edu.sa About Health Matrix Founded in 2009 with operating offices in Saudi Arabia and Jordan, Health Matrix is a specialized Healthcare IT Company serving healthcare providers and regulators in the Middle East region. With a long-term strategy of improving the healthcare IT in the region, the company is focused on helping clients to adopt best-of-breed eHealth solutions developed by world-class healthcare IT corporations. These solutions were developed with a core principle of elevating the quality of care delivered to healthcare recipients in the areas of patient safety, risk management, workforce management, policies and procedures, healthcare eLearning, clinical decision support systems, as well as primary care. Capitalizing on our team’s solid experience, local knowledge of the Middle East market, client-centered service approach, and the unique association with worldwide leading software vendors such as Datix, Kronos, ICNet, MCN Healthcare & Learning, WaveMedical, and CureMD, we believe that Health Matrix is positioned to play a fundamental role in bridging the gap between the region healthcare practices and the international standards. We, in Health Matrix, are strong believers in innovation and deploying a cutting-edge technology to enhance the well being of our communities. To Learn more visit www.healthmatrixcorp.com or call: +966 1 4626625 About Datix Datix has been a pioneer in the field of patient safety since 1986 and is today a leading supplier of software for patient safety, risk management, incident and adverse event reporting.  Datix aims to help healthcare organizations build a culture and practice that drives excellence in patient safety.  It recruits and retains people committed to the healthcare sector and continually invests in its software and services to ensure that it integrates best practice and learning.  Datix is focused on the health and social care sector.  Its customers include public and private hospitals, primary care providers, GP surgeries, mental health and ambulance service providers.  Its clients also include organizations delivering care home and domiciliary care services.  Within the UK this includes more than 70% of the National Health Service.  Internationally the Datix client base is growing rapidly and includes large scale deployments in Canada and the USA as well as clients in Europe, Australia and the Middle East.   Datix is headquartered in London, United Kingdom. To learn more, visit www.datix.co.uk  or call +44 (0)20 8971 1971 For further information please contact: Health Matrix Corporation Ola AlAnqarMarketing and Communications Manager P : +966 1 4626625F : +966 1 4631448E:  ... Read more


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Hippocrates, writing circa 400 BC, said that one’s health depends on the air one breathes, the water one drinks, and the environment in which one lives. Place matters in health! An outbreak of cholera in the Soho district of London in 1854 killed 127 residents over 3 days and caused the exodus of nearly three quarters of the population. The father of modern day public health, Anesthesiologist John Snow created maps of these cholera deaths and stopped the epidemic by removing the handle on the Broad Street pump. What was once thought to be an airborne disease was now confirmed to be one transmitted through consumption of contaminated water. Mapping of disease mortality on a map of Soho, Snow applied the basics of geographic information science. The Health 2.0 Middle East - Dubai conference will feature an exciting keynote by Bill Davenhall on geomedicine. Mr. Davenhall served as the Global Health and Human Services Solutions Manager at ESRI the largest geographic information system (GIS) software developer in the world. The conference will be held 27th-28th January, 2013 at the majestic Jumeirah Beach Hotel.  Mr. Davenhall will describe his work in the field of geomedicine – the intersection of public health knowledge with personal medicine through the use of geography. Global health begins at home. The obligation of nations to help citizens have a safe, healthy passage through life is neither a small nor simple matter --- not one taken lightly by the health authorities of the UAE. All of which are supporting and attending the Health 2.0 Middle East conference. What Is Geomedicine? ?At the present time, very little health-relevant geographic information is available to a clinician at the time of a medical diagnostic encounter, and it is certainly not a typical part of a comprehensive medical record. Geomedicine uses modern information technology to deliver information on a patient’s potential environmental exposures into the hands of the clinician while they are in the examination room. Mr. Davenhall will describe the uses of geographic information in disease surveillance and the growing use of GIS in today’s public and population health. GIS provides a powerful set of tools for understanding health risks to populations and for planning and evaluating interventions to improve population health. Think of geomedicine as your personal health surveillance system, says Mr. Davenhall -- always turned on and always vigilant about sensing changes in your environments (communities, neighborhoods, households and worksites, both past and present) that might impact your health. Geomedicine has the capacity to become that platform -- a new medical informatics specialty devoted to bringing all the data together intelligently to actually do something to help you and your doctor keep you healthy. Only though informed informational partnerships with our personal physicians and our public health professionals will we be better served by what is revealed through the modern geographic microscope! Those who are building electronic health records (EHR)— supposedly for the benefit of patients and health-seeking consumers—must make sure we have a reliable way to link our personal place history to the sophisticated electronic health records they are building now, says Mr. Davenhall. The Health 2.0 conference will also feature a session exploring EHR applications and their most commonly used functions for supporting clinicians’ needs across the continuum of care. About Medica IQ FZ, LLC?. Based in Dubai, Medica IQ is a multi-disciplinary global Health 2.0 platform company. MedicaIQ offers a more convenient means to connect with health care consumers and health care professionals. Our targeted approach facilitates the needs of public health literacy by developing and delivering health behavior modification education products used in public health awareness and wellness programs. MedicaIQ also offers a variety of customizable mobile and web based solutions. Learn more at: www.medicaiq.com. About Health 2.0 ?Health 2.0: The conference. The media network. The innovation community. The Health 2.0 Conference is the leading showcase of cutting-edge innovation transforming the health care system and is the premiere platform connecting IT innovators to established health care providers. Health 2.0 covers the broadest spectrum of the technology revolution that is shaking up every sector of health care. Learn more at www.health2con.com For more information and media inquiries contact: Yolanda Esparza?MedicaIQ, Dubai UAE?+971 555 0 971 ... Read more

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