BEI HIT Blog
EMR & HIPAA
Most providers think their productivity will go down if they implement an EHR. Trouble is that most providers don’t really measure productivity and don’t think about how to improve it. Using an EMR is a great way to start because the measurement tools are available. If these tools are used properly, productivity measurement and improvement can be attained.
The most recent EMR adoption numbers I’ve seen are putting EMR adoption at about 60% of doctors. When I think about the other 40% of doctors that have yet to adopt an EMR, my guess is that the biggest reason they haven’t adopted an EMR is based on their fear that an EMR will negatively impact their practice and their productivity. They fear that a change to EMR is going to be negative rather than a positive that it could be.
A whitepaper called Getting Lean with Your Practice: Five Tips for Improving Provider Productivity with an EHR does a good job looking at the issues of productivity in a practice and how to improve that productivity. One thing it points out is that if you can’t measure it, then you don’t really know how you’re doing. Turns out, an EMR is a great way to measure productivity. Read More
iHealthBeat, May 8, 2013
BEI Commentary: Surescripts recently issued their annual report on eprescribing. Adoption is increasing year over year, and nearly half of all prescriptions are now transmitted electronically. The report has all types of interesting information, including prescribing rate by practice size, specialty and geographic area. Note that there is also a link in the article to the complete report.
Slightly less than half of all U.S. prescriptions were submitted electronically in 2012, according to a new report from electronic prescribing network Surescripts, FierceEMR reports.
The report found that about 44% of all prescriptions were submitted electronically by the end of 2012, up from 36% by the end of 2011. The total number of electronic prescriptions submitted increased from 570 million in 2011 to 788 million in 2012. Read More
EMR & HIPAA
BEI Commentary: The jury is out on email versus text, but it is important to think about what communications method is best to interact with patients. While we are not there from a HIPAA compliance standpoint, it is helpful to think about this now.
The idea of improving communication in healthcare is always a hot one. For fear of HIPAA and other factors, healthcare seems to lag behind when adopting the latest communication technologies. The most simple examples are email and text message. Both are simple and widely adopted communication technologies and most in healthcare are afraid to use them.
At the core of why people are afraid is because native email is not HIPAA secure and native SMS is not HIPAA secure either. Although, there are a whole suite of communication products that are working to solve the healthcare communication security challenges while still keeping the simplicity of an email or text message. In fact, both of the other companies I’ve started or advise, Physia and docBeat, are focused on the problems of secure email and secure text. Plus, there are dozens of other companies working to improve healthcare communication and hundreds of EMR, PHR, and HIE applications that are integrating these forms of communication into their systems. Read More
Healthcare IT News, April 8, 2013
BEI Commentary: Here are the latest statistics on Meaningful Use payments. Almost one out of every two physicians are participating.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reports it has paid out nearly $12.7 billion in meaningful use incentive payments through February 2013, according to the latest figures available.
The electronic health record adoption incentive program, launched under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has now drawn 264,292 Medicare eligible providers (EPs) to date, including 120,002 Medicaid registrants and 4,299 hospitals, according to CMS. Read More
Annals of Internal Medicine, March 5, 2013
BEI Commentary: Part of the promise of EHRs is to improve healthcare over all in general, which includes population health. One clinical intervention that is known to be effective is the use of a colonoscopy to screen for colon cancer for adults aged 50 and over. In a recent, controlled study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine, colonoscopy screening rates improved from 26% to over 65% when EHRs were used to assist in the process of identifying and getting patients in for their procedures.
Background: Screening decreases colorectal cancer (CRC) incidence and mortality, yet almost half of age-eligible patients are not screened at recommended intervals.
Objective: To determine whether interventions using electronic health records (EHRs), automated mailings, and stepped increases in support improve CRC screening adherence over 2 years. Read More
Healthcare Informatics, February 6, 2013
BEI Commentary: Consider enlisting your patients’ help in making sure their medical records are accurate. This has the side benefit of involving them further in their care, and showing them that you care!
Backed by a study from the Office for the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC), researchers at the Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health System and the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago (NORC) recently discovered that patients can help make the information in their EHR more accurate. These results were touted in a recent webinar from the National eHealth Collaborative (NeHC).
According to Prashila Dullabh, M.D., project lead at NORC, the researchers assessed the need for patient feedback in improving the quality of their EHRs through a pilot project at Geisinger. Users of the Geisinger patient portal, MyGeisinger, were encouraged to provide feedback on their medication list within their medical record prior to an office visit. Dullabh says 1500 patients received the feedback form, and approximately 30 percent responded to this offer to update. Read More
Reuters, November 8, 2012
BEI Commentary: This is a non-HIT/HIT article. You can see from this that the medical industry is not the only one that has regulatory oversight that requires encryption and other protections. Good computer security is just a fact of life in an increasingly networked world.
Staffers at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission failed to encrypt some of their computers containing highly sensitive information from stock exchanges, leaving the data vulnerable to cyber attacks, according to people familiar with the matter.
While the computers were unprotected, there was no evidence that hacking or spying on the SEC’s computers took place, these people said.
The computers and other electronic devices in question belonged to a handful of employees in an office within the SEC’s Trading and Markets Division. That office is responsible for making sure exchanges follow certain guidelines to protect the markets from potential cyber threats and systems problems, one of those people said. Read More
Healthcare IT News, October 25, 2012
BEI Commentary: CMS has announced the CQMs for 2014 – a change compared to what is being reported today.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published the final 2014 clinical quality measures (CQMs) for eligible professionals and eligible hospitals seeking to attest for meaningful use.
Beginning in 2014, the reporting of clinical quality measures will change for all providers. Electronic health record (EHR) technology that has been certified to the 2014 standards and capabilities will contain new CQM criteria. Read More
New York Times, Octobe 8, 2012
BEI Commentary: A very interesting article about how some physicians are using social media. Obviously there are a lot of issues to work out, but it looks like these technologies can be put to good use in working with patients.
The teenager’s cellphone buzzes. Her doctor, Natasha Burgert, is texting her: “Better morning with this medication?”
Another teenager opens his phone. “Everything is great,” reads Dr. Burgert’s discreet text. “Go ahead with the plan we discussed. Please reply so I know you received.”
And on the morning of college entrance exams, a teenager who suffers from a roiling stomach reads Dr. Burgert’s texted greeting: “Prepared. Focused. Calm. Your body is healthy and well. Good luck today.” Read More
Healthcare informatics, October 5, 2012
BEI Commentary: The Republicans want more bang for their buck! If Romney gets elected, physicians will really need to bring their “A” game.
Recently, House Republicans sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking her to suspend the payments related to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Electronic Health Record (EHR) Meaningful Use Incentive program. The House republicans say HHS is “squandering taxpayer dollars by asking little of providers in return for incentive payments.”
According to Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Wally Herger (R-CA), and Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), the Stage 2 meaningful use rules are in some ways weaker than the proposed Stage 1 regulations. The result, they say, will be a “less efficient system.” Read More