BEI HIT Blog
Fierce Mobile Healthcare, October 7, 2013
BEI Commentary: We are just starting to scratch the surface of electronic provider – patient communications. Here is a good example of how text messaging can be put to use.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has awarded a three-year contract to support the implementation of text4baby, the nation’s largest and only free mobile health service for expecting and new moms, in four still-to-be-determined states.
According to the announcement, CMS is currently working with text4baby founding partners Voxiva and the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition to determine the target states for this pilot project. Read more
American Medical Association, September 10, 1013
BEI Commentary: We know that many of you feel like you are being “HIPAA’d” to death, but we get requests about the new HIPAA rules all the time. Here is a link from the AMA website that has some nice resources on the new HIPAA rules, Encryption and even sample Notice of Privacy Practices and Business Associate Agreements.
Upcoming September 23, 2013 HIPAA privacy and security deadline – The U.S Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) recently adopted new rules which make changes to existing privacy, security and breach notification requirements in what is often referred to as the final “HIPAA Omnibus Rule.” These new rules stem from changes made under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act which is part of the same law that created the Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Incentive Program under Medicare and Medicaid. Read More
iHealthBeat, August 23, 2013
BEI Commentry: There are many things to consider when negotiating EHR contracts, even things that might not be related to technology. Here is a story about who gets access to patient data when a physician leaves a practice. It also has a link to best practices when negotiating an EHR contract, published by ONC.
A Canadian physician who left a medical group to start her own practice was not able to maintain access to 1,500 patient electronic health records, one example of the challenges of negotiating EHR vendor contracts, EHR Intelligence reports.
Dianne Smith left her position at the Didsbury Medical Clinic to begin her own practice, hoping to take patients with her. However, she was denied access to their records by Didsbury’s owner and its EHR vendor. Read More
Healthcare Informatics, July 23, 2013
BEI Commentary: Payment Patient Portals are becoming ever more important ways of communicating, and they are required for stage 2. Reach the second half of this article to see how Parrish Medical Center is rated #1 in this area.
It seems that while everyone in healthcare is talking about patient engagement, many are struggling to come up with strategies to achieve it.
Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use electronic health records (EHR) incentive program requires 5 percent of patients to log into and upload data via a portal or personal health record for providers to earn incentive payments from the program. And last year, the National eHealth Collaborative and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) created the Patient Engagement Framework, which was vetted by over 150 healthcare stakeholders, and is meant to help providers understand how to start and continuously improve a patient engagement initiative. According to the lead authors of the framework, a properly implemented patient engagement strategy should transform the way a health system delivers care. Read More
MedCity News, July 22, 2013
BEI Commentary: Payment reform is coming, and maybe sooner than you think. Medicare is proposing to pay mid-size physician groups for performance, starting in 2015. This will undoubtedly affect readers of this blog. Not explicitly mentioned in the article, but critically important is the ability to capture and report the required qualify measures in a practice’s EHR.
Medicare is accelerating plans to peg a portion of doctors’ pay to the quality of their care.
The changes would affect nearly 500,000 physicians working in groups. The federal health law requires large physician groups to start getting bonuses or penalties based on their performance by 2015, with all doctors who take Medicare patients phased into the program by 2017. Read More
AAFP, July 3, 2013
BEI Commentary: The good news here is that physician adoption of EHR and Meaningful Use continues to grow. The bad news is that some physicians did not attest in 2012 after having successfully done so in 2011. This is rather perplexing as the workflows are the same and should not require any additional effort on the part of the practice. We know of a practice that fell into this trap simply because the practice manager forgot to attest. It cost the practice over $60,000. Please remember that Meaningful Use is a process, not a one-time event. Make sure to run your Meaningful Use measures on a regular basis and make sure you are meeting and exceeding the thresholds. And remember to attest!
As U.S. physicians continue to embrace electronic health records (EHRs), data on CMS’ EHR incentive program holds both positive and troubling news regarding family physicians’ participation and success in achieving meaningful use of their EHRs.
According to CMS’ recently published EHR meaningful use attestation data(healthdata.gov), 23,636 family physicians became first-time meaningful users in 2012. The number represents a 180 percent increase compared to 2011 EHR statistics. Read More
iHealthBeat, June 24, 2013
BEI Commentary: This goes in the category of “what will they think of next!”. Really fascinating article about how pill use can be tracked electronically and data fed into an EHR or a smartphone.
Next year, some family physicians likely will be using ingestible digital pills to keep track of patient’s health, the New York Times’ “Bits” reports (Bilton, “Bits”, New York Times, 6/23).
Such pills feature an embedded microchip to transmit patient data to health care providers. Last month, FDA said that it is easing federal oversight of the pills. Read More
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