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Healthcare News

HIPAA framework could be expanded

The HIPAA privacy and security framework could be broadened as Congress and several federal regulatory agencies outside of healthcare grapple with privacy and security concerns created by mobile and other newer technologies, a Washington privacy expert told members of the American Health Information Management Association on Wednesday.   Read more at"

Smartphone medication adherence apps: Potential benefits to patients and providers

Synopsis: Medication adherence applications (apps) available on three main smartphone operating systems (OSs; Apple, Android, and Blackberry) were evaluated, and the authors gave MyMedSchedule, MyMeds, and RxmindMe the highest ratings based on their wide range of features and enhanced levels of functionality. Although they have not been tested in trial settings, adherence apps could be considered a possible strategy for pharmacists to recommend to nonadherent patients....

Personalizing public health: Your health avatar

Synopsis: The evolution of medical diagnostics and procedures has quickly outpaced changes in how providers and patients interact, and although medical science has accomplished much in the correction of disease, technology generally has failed to improve the manner in which health care providers influence patient behavior. The authors propose a health avatar: a computerized representation of a user from a personal and public health perspective. Patients could select a...

Rural doctors slow to adopt electronic medical records

These days when you go to the doctor, many rely on an electronic health records system. With just a few clicks of a mouse, they can bring up your medical history, prescribe you medication, or chart your test results. The 2009 Recovery Act actually set aside $20 billion to help health care providers ditch the paper records and go electronic. The idea was to cut soaring health care costs in the U.S. But while physicians...

New York Times Cites Pharmacists in "Sensible Solution" for Patient Care

Alexandria, Va. – A New York Times editorial provides further support that pharmacists – along with other healthcare professionals – serve as healthcare partners in improving patient health and the affordability of healthcare delivery. The December 15 editorial explores the roles of various healthcare professionals and the...

Essential Role for Pharmacists Predicted in Health Care Reform

An editorial by Judith Shinogle, PhD, MSc in the December 2011 issue of Clinical Therapeutics dissects the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and examines how it could expand pharmacists’ roles. (View that abstract here.) Pharmacists are already active members of the medication care team, although some object to further expanding our roles because of the

Patients want to read, share their medical records

Patients want easy access to any notes their doctor has recorded about them, and they want the right to let others view their medical information, according to a pair of U.S. studies.Read the complete story here. Source: Reuters, reporting by Kerry Grens in New York, editing by Steve Orlofsky.

Health Insurance Costs Rising Faster Than Income

Health insurance costs are exceeding income growth in every state in the country while premiums buy less protective coverage, according to a Commonwealth Fund report. Researchers found that health insurance premiums for employer-based plans grew 50% from 2003 to 2010 and will increase another 71% by 2020, if unchecked, to nearly $24,000 for family coverage. "The steady rise in costs from 2001 through 2010, before enactment of the Affordable Care Act, points to the urgent need for...

Healthcare Costs Continue to Rise

An index that follows average national healthcare costs increased for the fourth consecutive month, according to Standard & Poor's Ratings Services. The ratings firm reported that the average per capita cost of healthcare covered by commercial insurance and Medicare rose 5.76% over the 12-month period ended in August, compared to July's year-to-date increase of 5.69% and April's record low of 5.32%.\

NACDS Advises Congress on Patient Safety

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) urged the U.S. Senate to consider the patient safety consequences of allowing "personal importation" of prescription drugs, and to refrain from moving to such a system through an amendment to the legislation that allocates funds to FDA. NACDS wrote to U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), expressing concerns with his amendment to the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations...

NACDS Advises Congressional Super Committee on Long-Term Healthcare

In a letter to the bipartisan co-chairmen of the Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or Super Committee, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) provided recommendations related to diabetes testing supplies for Medicare patients. NACDS stated that its recommendations would prevent the unintended consequences of hasty policy mistakes, and foster better...

Diet of Fruits and Vegetables Can Counteract Heart Disease

A healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables can significantly weaken the effect of a gene associated with an increased risk of heart disease, a study published in PLoS Medicine suggests. Researchers examined the link between the 9p21 gene variant and diet in more than 27,000 people of five ethnicities, finding that the risk of heart attack in people with the 9p21 gene variant who ate a healthy diet composed mainly of raw vegetables, fruits and berries was similar to that of...

Individual Mandate Section of Healthcare Reform Struck Down by Courts

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled two to one that the portion of the Affordable Care Act requiring individuals to have health insurance is unconstitutional, but stated that the rest of the law could stand. The 304-page decision described the coverage mandate as "woefully overinclusive," and it rejects the federal government's argument that the mandate is constitutional because it regulates how people pay for the healthcare services they will inevitably...

Supreme Court Rejects Fast Tracking Healthcare Reform Challenge

The Supreme Court rejected a call from Virginia's attorney general to put the review of the healthcare law on a fast track, leaving the judicial review of the legislation to continue in federal appeals courts. The appeals process is moving rapidly through the courts and could arrive back at the Supreme Court by next year. The Washington Post (Free Registration Required) 

Medication Misuse Due to Low Health Literacy

Pharmacists should consider health literacy when counseling patients on complex medication regimens. Read more on "Low Health Literacy to Blame for Medication Misuse"

Minnesota Medicaid Expansion Approved by HHS

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) approved Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton's plan to expand the state's Medicaid rolls by 95,000. The move, which begins Mar. 1, will provide health insurance to low-income adults who previously were uninsured and broader coverage at lower cost to others who received care under the state-funded programs. Read more on "Feds...

HHS Releases National Vaccine Plan

The Department of Health and Human Services unveiled a new National Vaccine Plan to enhance coordination of all aspects of federal vaccine and immunization activities with the goal to ensure that all Americans can gain access to vaccines. Read more on "HHS unveils...

NACDS Patient Care Database Doubled in Size

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation is pleased to announce that the NACDS Foundation's Patient Care Database – launched in February 2010 – has more than doubled in size. The Patient Care Database is a free, publicly-accessible and searchable healthcare resource dedicated to providing a convenient portal to information on pharmacist-provided patient care services beyond dispensing prescription medications. "The Patient Care Database is truly a...

MTM Can Cut Healthcare Costs

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., argued before the Senate around the value increased access to medication therapy management can deliver to overall health care — that includes cutting into the $290 billion in annual costs associated with medication nonadherence and preventing as many as 89,000 premature deaths.

Healthcare IT Improves Quality of Care According to Healthcare Leaders

More than 80% of healthcare leaders believe the federal government's efforts to promote health IT will improve the quality of care across the healthcare industry. The survey also found that 46% believe a lack of financing is the greatest challenge to health IT adoption. Read more on "HLM Intelligence Report on E-Health Systems"

Poll Shows Majority of Americans Want to Keep Healthcare reform

  A majority of Americans (51%) want Congress to keep the healthcare law or expand it, according to a McClatchy Newspapers-Marist poll. The post-election survey also showed that 44% want to change it to do less or repeal it altogether. Voters by margins of two-to-one or greater want to keep some of its well-known benefits, such as barring insurers from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions, though many are not supportive of the mandate that everyone must buy...

Engaged Patients Necessary for Medication Adherence

Medication adherence, compliance and persistence depend on the involvement of an active patient to be successful, according to David Nau, senior director of research and performance measurement at the Pharmacy Quality Alliance (PQA) and Rick Mohall, director of clinical services at Rite Aid Corp. Dr. Nau and Mr. Mohall outlined approaches that pharmacies and healthcare groups are taking to improve medication adherence and patient health outcomes in a session at the National...

Some Medicare Part D Beneficiaries to Save 50% on Brand Drugs

Medicare Part D beneficiaries who fall into the "donut hole" coverage gap will see a 50% discount on brand name drugs in 2011, according to Vice President Joe Biden and government health officials. Pharmaceutical manufacturers will provide the discount under the new healthcare law. Read more on "Medicare beneficiaries in donut hole will see 50-percent discount on...

Medicare Part D Costing Less Than Expected

The Medicare Part D prescription drug program is coming in well below its projected cost, with the government spending $60.8 billion on the drug benefit, less than the annual $111.2 billion cost projected five years ago after the program was enacted. The program's full drug benefit took effect in 2006, and gives analysts hope for the "possible success of the health insurance exchanges," in The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, stated Paul N. Van de Water, a...

NCPA Urges Federal Agencies to Preserve Patient Access and Choice

Federal agencies enforcing new health-reform mandates must act to preserve patients’ access to the pharmacy of their choice and lower-cost generic medicines, the independent pharmacy lobby urged the government Tuesday...

Stroke Medications Often Not Taken

One fourth of patients who have had a stroke stopped using at least one of their stroke-prevention medications within three months after hospitalization, according to a study published in Archives of Neurology. Researchers found that in most cases physicians discontinued medications including warfarin and diuretics to control high blood pressure for unknown reasons.

Mobile Devices Become More Important in Healthcare

Smartphones, tablet PCs and other wireless devices are poised to play a greater role in healthcare as doctors and patients embrace the mobile Internet, panelists at a mobile health technology conference in Boston said Thursday. A study from Manhattan Research found that 71 percent of physicians consider a smartphone essential to their practice.Read more on "Mobile Devices Become More Important in...

Eliminating Fraud and Encouraging Efficiency Can Save $3.6 Trillion

The U.S. healthcare industry can cut $3.6 trillion in waste over 10 years with common-sense steps to eliminate fraud, errors and to encourage efficiency and healthier behavior, according to an analysis by Thomson Reuters. Recommended changes include giving patients a medical "home" to better coordinate care, eliminating a culture of fraud, encouraging patients to ask about healthcare costs and rewarding quality improvement initiatives. The report is available at...

Employer healthcare costs expected to rise 9% in 2011

Rising healthcare costs not good news for Employers. Read more on "Employer healthcare costs expected to rise 9% in 2011" 

Pennsylvania Expands Role of Pharmacist in Healthcare

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) praised a new law in Pennsylvania that will allow more patients to benefit from the vast medication knowledge and training of pharmacists. NACDS, which advocated for the now-enacted legislation, praised the efforts of the Pennsylvania Association of Chain Drug Stores and the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association which led to this important victory. The law will create opportunities for collaborative drug therapy management –...

Pricing transparency gaining renewed interest

Led by a physician lawmaker, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle have shown renewed interest in mandating a boost in healthcare pricing transparency, including charges for physician services. Read more on "Pricing transparency gaining renewed interest"

When Patients Don’t Fill Their Prescriptions

Many drug prescriptions never get filled, sometimes with deadly consequences. A New York Times on the Web article written by Pauline W. Chen, M.D. explores the varied reasons that medication nonadherence, or noncompliance, remains a significant healthcare problem. Referencing studies that found as many as half of all patients did not follow their doctors' medication advice, Dr. Chen states the advent of better tracking systems and the more...

Why Don't Patients Fill Prescriptions? A Study Examining Primary Non-adherence

The authors from Boston's Brigham and Women's and Massachusetts General Hospitals assessed primary nonadherence, or failure to fill new prescriptions, to identify factors that predict nonadherence.  Read more on "Why Don't Patients Fill Prescriptions? A Study Examining Primary Non-adherence" (Medscape Today registration required.)

HIT Preview offered at April ASAP Conference

During ASAP's annual Industry and Technology Conference, speakers highlighted growing opportunities for pharmacists to provide patient care and MTM services through support of health information technology (HIT). Read more on "ASAP conference offers HIT preview"

Electronic medical orders may save lives

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Doctors at a California children's hospital have found the first evidence that using an electronic system to communicate their orders may save lives. Computerized physician order entry (CPOEs) allow doctors to relay prescriptions to pharmacists without delay, and without the need for the pharmacist to decipher doctors' scrawl.

NACDS' Anderson: Reform creates wellness ‘renaissance’

PALM BEACH, Fla. (Apr. 25) The collective efforts by the industry to create value have given way to a “health-and-wellness renaissance.” That was a key message that Steve Anderson, president and CEO of NACDS, had for attendees of Sunday’s business program. “It is creating a rebirth. Let’s call it a health-and-wellness renaissance with innovations focused on patients and consumers,” said Anderson during his state of the association...

New challenges on the horizon as healthcare overhaul made official

What it means and why it's important: After more than a year that spawned bitter debate, a tea party, a growing divide in Congress and a never-ending clash of ideas, charges, countercharges and soul-searching about the role of government and deficit spending, healthcare reform is law. Now comes an even tougher battle: the President and his administration must make the machinery of a new, more outcomes-centered healthcare system work within its $940 million budget, and they must do...

It's time to revisit biometrics for patient ID, security

Last week in this space, I wrote about the importance of a master patient index or other form of reliable patient identifier as key to making health information exchange work. Wouldn't you know, right around the same time last Monday, CNN published a story about verifying patient identities, not with an MPI or an ID number, but something far more unique--and more politically palatable--than a national patient identifier: iris scans. I know, we've heard about biometric...

President Obama releases new healthcare-reform proposal, NCPA responds

President Obama released his own detailed healthcare-reform proposal Monday, which would cost $950 billion over a 10-year period and addresses some of the main concerns of House leaders who are demanding more help for the middle class....In response to this, the National Community Pharmacists Association's EVP and CEO Bruce Roberts, commended President Obama and congressional members for improving the U.S. healthcare system and looks forward to continued collaboration with the government...

What would Steve Jobs do?

Hospital Impact's Anthony Cirillo thinks he knows of just the man to lead the healthcare reform effort: Apple CEO Steve Jobs, known for creating products that "cut through complexity," according to a recent interview. "He reaches for what people only dream about or, even better, haven't even considered dreaming about. After all, who even thought of loading thousands of songs and album cover art onto something smaller than the size of a TV remote? Who ever imagined that patients...

Guard Your Health Insurance Card

You may want to make sure you know where your health insurance card is. According to a new study, 7 percent of identity fraud victims this year reported identity thieves stole their health insurance information, up from just 3 percent last year. Such health insurance identity theft occurs when someone impersonates someone else at a hospital or doctor’s office using a stolen health insurance card or account number or or other treatment. People often learn they are victims of such...

PhRMA, BIO, GPhA weigh in on healthcare-reform bill passage

“The existing barriers to quality health care simply are not acceptable,” an organization statement read. “Today’s important and historic vote in the House will help to expand healthcare coverage and services to tens of millions of Americans who are uninsured and often forced to forego needed medical treatments.” Read more on "PhRMA, BIO,...

Number of unfilled scrips approaches 15%

Congratulations! Your quality products, savvy advertising and canny sales reps have put new prescriptions in patients' hands. But what if those scrips never make it out of a pharmacy? That's exactly what's happening--more often than ever. According to a new report, the number of prescriptions never picked up from the pharmacy grew by 24 percent in 2009--and it's up a full 68 percent since 2006. A full 8.6 percent of new prescriptions for branded meds are abandoned at the drugstore,...

Why do Americans pay more for their meds?

Why do Americans pay so much for their pharmaceuticals? That's the question posed by Sen. Herb Kohl, a Democrat and chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, who has written to the world's top drugmakers to demand an explanation. "Americans pay, on average, twice as much as people in other industrialized countries," Chairman Kohl states in the letter. "While I firmly believe that drug quality should not be sacrificed for cost, the large discrepancies in the cost of...

Health bill OK'd by House has key Rx provisions

In a late night vote, the House of Representatives gave final approval to a sweeping health care reform package in a landmark victory for President Barack Obama — and a win for drug store retailers. Read more on "Health bill OK'd by House has key Rx provisions"

Health-reform bill passes in the House, pharmacy groups express support for pharmacy provisions

The advancement of a healthcare-reform bill on Sunday by the U.S. House of Representatives contains several pro-pharmacy provisions, two pharmacy groups said Monday. Read more on "Health-reform bill passes in the House, pharmacy groups exprress support for pharmacy provisions"

Pharmacy Issues Included in Health Reform Bill Advanced by House

  Three pharmacy provisions advocated by the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) are included in the healthcare reform bill advanced today by the U.S. House of Representatives.  The bill includes provisions that were part of the healthcare reform measure passed by the Senate in December 2009, including those related to: a series of grant and pilot programs that include medication therapy management (MTM); improvements to...

A quarter of new prescriptions go unfilled, study finds

More than a quarter of new prescriptions are unfilled, especially when the drugs are for symptomless conditions, researchers from Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital have found. Read more on "A quarter of new prescriptions go unfilled, study finds"

U.S. Pharmacy Chains to Play Bigger Role in Delivering Medical Services

With new incentives and business strategies coming into play to repair and improve the health-care system, local pharmacies are positioned to help meet the top two goals of reform: providing convenient, expanded access to medical care and controlling costs, an article in the company’s business + strategy contends.

Internet role in consumer healthcare reigns supreme

The Internet has considerably more influence over consumer health decisions and actions than traditional channels like print, TV and radio, according to a new report from Manhattan Research. Read more on "Internet role in consumer healthcare reigns supreme"

PricewaterhouseCoopers projects expansion of retail clinics, offerings

Traditional care delivery models will continue to give way to alternative care delivery models, such as retail-based health clinics and work-site clinics, as the healthcare system continues to battle rising costs and capacity, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ list of health industry issues for 2010.Read more on...

NACDS' Rosato gives Capitol area viewers tips for keeping compliant with their meds during blizzard

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores' SVP pharmacy affairs, Edith Rosato, was featured Tuesday on the Washington, D.C., CBS affiliate, WUSA-Channel 9, as part of the station's winter storm coverage.Rosato was tapped for the segment for her ability to answer frequently asked questions related to patients managing their prescription drug therapies amid hazardous conditions.

NACDS Foundation launches patient care database

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation (NACDS) has developed a fully searchable resource dedicated to raising the public's awareness of such topics as medication adherence and other patient services provided by community pharmacy. Read more on "NACDS Foundation launches patient care database"

Tougher penalties for HIPAA violations

Federal civil monetary penalties for HIPAA privacy and security breaches are about to go up, to as high as $1.5 million, thanks to provisions in the HITECH section of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The new rules take effect Feb. 17, the first anniversary of the passage of the stimulus legislation. Under the new rules, penalties will vary based on whether or not the violation was willful. Fines for willful neglect will start at $10,000, compared to $100 for more benign...

People with Medicare Should Act Now to Ensure Uninterrupted Drug Cov. in Feb., Consumer Grp. Advises

Every winter, millions of people with Medicare discover that their Medicare private drug plan will no longer cover a medicine they need. Consumers affected include: members of drug plans that dropped certain drugs from their list of covered drugs in 2010 or imposed new restrictions on a covered drug in the new year; consumers who switched plans but failed to check that all their medicines are covered under their new plan; and many of the one million low-income people with Medicare who...

Novel Health Care Approaches: The "Medical Home" And "Medicine At Work"

News outlets report on two novel approaches to health care: the medical home and patient-doctor intereactions via video. WBUR (Boston) reports that the term "medical home" has "become a health reform buzzword" and is "touted as a way to cut costs and improve primary care. Massachusetts recently launched several programs to create medical homes." "The team approach is key to the medical home concept, according to Eric Weil, a primary-care physician at Mass General...

EMR enables Partners In Health relief efforts in Haiti

If you've been following Haiti relief efforts since the Jan. 12 earthquake sent that troubled country deeper into chaos, you've probably seen the name "Partners In Health." That group, a Boston-based not-for-profit with loose ties to Harvard University and Partners HealthCare System, has nine established medical clinics in Haiti, and has developed an open-source EMR called OpenMRS, now in use in nearly two dozen developing countries across the globe. In Haiti, OpenMRS and a...

Healthcare may help IT industry reverse job losses

The IT industry has been reeling, having cut a net 175,000 jobs in 2009, or about 13.2 percent of all announced U.S. job cuts across all industries last year. The decline is more than 12 percent greater than the 155,000 tech jobs shed in 2008. But there are some bright spots. Forrester Research recently forecast that U.S. IT spending would grow by 6.6 percent in 2010, reversing an 8.2 percent reduction last year. And then there is the health IT sector.

Grassley: Vendor "gag orders" prevent HIT issues from being reported and resolved

Concerns from healthcare providers about errors and complications associated with using healthcare information technology have prompted Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) to send a lengthy list of questions to 31 hospitals nationwide. The questions focus on how the organizations report, analyze and track HIT-related issues and concerns, among other things.  The letter stems from a growing number of reports about interoperability problems between HIT programs; administrative...

Panel raps CMS for not requiring MD progress notes

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the proposed rules for meaningful use of health IT was the fact that physicians will not have to keep electronic progress notes to earn Medicare or Medicaid bonus payments in 2011. Now, some members of the Health IT Policy Committee, an HHS advisory panel, are second-guessing the plan. At last week's Policy Committee meeting in Washington, Dr. Paul Tang, who co-chairs the workgroup on meaningful use, and Dr. George Hripcsak, the workgroup's...

EDI Issues Move Up the Priority List

Health Data Management Magazine discusses HIPAA 5010 adoption. Read more on "EDI Issues Moves Up the Priority List"

As Apple launches iPad, Microsoft pushes Windows tablets for EMRs

As Apple was releasing its much-anticipated iPad (Is it a tablet computer or just a glorified iPod Touch, anyway?) on Wednesday, Microsoft was preparing to fight back in the healthcare sphere. Writing at the Microsoft HealthBlog, Dr. Bill Crounse, senior director for worldwide health at the Redmond Empire, reminds readers that Windows-based tablets have been used in healthcare for years. Crounse interviews a California physician who has been using Microsoft Office OneNote on a tablet PC...

Rules For Patient Data Security Remain Widely Unenforced

"As the federal government prepares to spend up to $27 billion in stimulus funds to promote electronic medical records, a health technology industry survey suggests that a number of hospitals, health clinics, and insurance firms are violating federal security rules on patient data and putting sensitive health information at risk," The Center for Public Integrity reports. "The November survey by the health technology trade association Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society...

Health IT Roundup: Problems with Privacy, Access to Records Highlighted in News Reports

CNN: "Despite a federal law requiring hospitals and doctors to release medical records to patients who ask for them, patients are reporting they have a hard time accessing" those records and that can lead to serious complications. The article unravels several cases in which obstacles to getting data resulted in serious consequences and ends with a tip sheet for patients hoping to extract their own data from physicians and hospitals (Cohen, 1/14). Modern Healthcare: Some...

GAO: Branded drug prices on the rise

Discussion of price increases, ranging from 100-499%, of branded drugs between the years 2000 and 2008. Read more on "GAO: Branded drug prices on the rise"

HHS: Rules for meaningful use, certification, HIPAA are on schedule

Don't expect a delay in the start of the federal EMR incentive program. In its semi-annual regulatory update, HHS lists the effective date as Oct. 1, 2010, for hospitals--the first day of federal fiscal year 2011--and Jan. 1, 2011, for physician practices, just as planned all along. The agency also says it is on schedule to publish regulations for several components of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act before the end of 2009, including the much-anticipated proposal for...

Personalized medicine market to grow 11% annually

Personalized medicine, which targets individualized treatment and care based on personal and genetic variation, is creating a booming market, but is a disruptive innovation that will create both opportunities and challenges for traditional health care and emerging market participants, according to a new report. Read more on "PricewaterhouseCoopers: Personalized...

Health Information Technology for the Future of Health and Care

The US government's Web portal for all things related to health information technology (HIT). ARRA of 2009 (Recovery Act) HITECH funding opportunities Privacy/Security National Health Information Network (NHIN) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) Health IT Buzz Blog Read more...

CMS proposes definition of meaningful use of certified EHR technology

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announces a proposed rule to implement provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA or Recovery Act) that will provide incentive payments for the meaningful use of certified electronic healthcare record (EHR) technology.

HITECH Act calls for new HIPAA notice requirements

Article outlining new HIPAA notice requirements based on the HITECH Act (2009). Read more on "HITECH Act calls for new HIPAA notice requirements"

Pharmacy HIT may get help from Congress

The Small Business Health Information Technology Financing Act could provide up to $10 million in loans for implementation of healthcare information technology. Read more on "Pharmacy HIT may get help from Congress"

Chicken pox vaccine may also reduce risk of shingles among children

Researchers at Kaiser Permanente found something unusual when they looked at electronic health records of children vaccinated for chicken pox: Few of them had shingles. Read more on "Chicken pox vaccine may also reduce risk of shingles among children"

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

We waited years for the federal government to do more than talk--and occasionally sponsor a pilot or demonstration program--about health IT. Annually from 2004 through 2008, various members of Congress would talk about how the country needs electronic health records and such, praise a new-found spirit of bipartisanship, then sponsor legislation authorizing maybe $125 million a year of federal money for health IT. Inevitably, the bills would die in committee. (What, you expected a...

Meaningful use to require 5 CDS rules but not progress notes in 2011

Healthcare providers will have to keep up-to-date problem lists, write electronic prescriptions, have electronic drug interaction checking, incorporate data from test results into their electronic health records, keep patient vitals and implement at least five rules for clinical decision support (CDS) to be eligible for federal Medicare or Medicaid bonus payments beginning in 2011, according to proposed federal rules for "meaningful use" of EHRs. A previous plan would have only required...

DID U TK UR MEDS? -- Texting Can Improve Meds Use, Chronic Disease Treatment

From a lethal distraction for drivers to dehumanizing personal interactions, text messaging has gotten a bum rap lately. But for doctors treating patients with chronic diseases, text messaging can be an invaluable tool, according to Johns Hopkins Children's Center pediatrician Delphine Robotham."For better or worse, this technology is here, and sending a text to a patient's cell phone about an upcoming appointment or a test or simply to remind them to take their meds is a...

National E-Health Network Remains Industry Challenge

As doctors and hospitals begin to transition to electronic medical records, one industry obstacle remains: ensuring that patients' records can smoothly follow them from one provider to another, the Associated Press reports. Though new stimulus funding for electronic records requires records to be "interoperable," or shareable, "the debate over interoperability among health care providers, which has been going on for years, could take well beyond the 2014 timeframe to be solved, industry...

Groups wary of CVS contract with state

Retired teachers in Texas are concerned about the CVS contract with the Texas Retirement System. Read the story here: "Teacher groups wary of CVS contract with state..." Read more on "Groups wary of CVS contract with state"

Study Shows Elderly Blacks Are More Likely To Skip Their Med Than Whites May Be At Greater Risk...

Older adults experience a number of medication-related problems, including under treatment, suboptimal drugs, suboptimal dosing, and non-adherence, which can have negative effects on their quality of life. Now new research1, from the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shows that blacks have more medication-related problems than whites, and non-adherence to medical regimens is a particular issue for this group. Dr. Mary Roth and colleagues'...

Columnist highlights small victories in year of grand visions

Here at FierceHealthIT, we're getting ready for our year-end issue next week. As we prepare our review, we're seeing some interesting perspectives on the news in health IT in 2009. Clearly, there was nothing bigger this year than the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the $787 billion stimulus bill that allocates a net $19.2 billion for health IT--really, a gross outlay of closer to $35 billion--over the next eight years. But the stimulus, which passed in February,...

Denying malpractice can threaten patient safety

A decade has passed since the Institutes of Medicine released "To Err is Human," a groundbreaking report that brought attention to the problem of medical errors and launched the patient safety movement. Meanwhile, the high cost of insuring against malpractice claims continues to affect physicians in their practices. Increasingly, patient safety and medical malpractice are being talked about in the same sentence. But the cause-effect relationship isn't as simple as "medical errors...

Dennis Quaid Lends Support To ASHP Patient Safety Initiatives

Actor Dennis Quaid, whose infant twins suffered a life-threatening medication error in 2007, announced his support for ASHP's new National Alert Network for Serious Medication Errors and the Pharmacy Technician Initiative in his remarks this week at the Society's Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas. "The reason I am here is to fully support your programs such as the ASHP Pharmacy Technician Initiative and continuing education programs for pharmacists and technicians that can...

National Alert System Launches To Prevent Deadly Medication Errors

Two leading health care organizations announce a new national alert system that helps prevent dangerous and repeated medication errors. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) are partnering to develop the National Alert Network for Serious Medication Errors (NAN). NAN will be triggered when a seriously harmful or potentially seriously harmful error has occurred. The alert will include a...

Digital imaging could be a catalyst for HIE, PHR adoption

Mention health information exchange to Dr. Elliot Menschik and he'll immediately ask a question: "Where's the business model? That's been the Achilles' heel of HIEs." And it has. Whether you call them regional health information organizations (RHIOs), community health information networks (CHINs) or the current term of choice, HIEs, dozens if not hundreds have shut down after the seed money dried up, many without ever transmitting a single byte of clinical data. But Menschik,...

PHR report card is rather meaningless at this point

With much fanfare, the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation on Wednesday unveiled its first "report card" on the privacy protections built into personal health records. "Some PHRs only share your information with your explicit permission. Some allow you to segment 'or lock-up' extra sensitive information, so it can only be seen by those that you permit. Some offer easily accessible reports of who saw and used your information, when and why," the Austin, Texas-based organization said in a...

National Coordinator's Office Reorganizes

The Office of the National Coordinator has reorganized its components, or offices, within the ONC.The new organizational structure has six offices--the Immediate Office of the National Coordinator with five other offices directly reporting to National Coordinator David Blumenthal, M.D. The offices are:* Office of Economic Modeling and Analysis, * Office of the Chief Scientist,* Office of the Deputy National Coordinator for Programs & Policy,* Office...

HIT progress "stunningly slow" in 10 years since IOM report

Tuesday (December 1, 2009) marked the 10th anniversary of the publication of To Err Is Human, the eye-opening Institute of Medicine report with the now-familiar assertion that preventable medical errors in U.S. hospitals kill 44,000 to 98,000 people every year. The landmark tome, plus a follow-up report, Crossing the Quality Chasm (2001), and other subsequent IOM publications called for greater use of health information technology to help reduce the number of mistakes...

Researchers call for database to track drug safety

A diverse team of physicians and public-health researchers is urging the creation of a national database of widely prescribed drugs to help monitor the risks and benefits of medications. The hope is to prevent a redux of the 2004 Vioxx episode, which saw the hugely popular arthritis medication taken off the market after a study questioned whether the Cox-2 inhibitor didn't raise the risk of heart disease. Writing in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers led by...

HHS Announces Plans to Make $80 Million Available to Support Health IT Workforce

Dr. David Blumenthal, HHS' National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, today announced plans to make available $80 million in grants to help develop and strengthen the health information technology workforce. The grants that will be made available include $70 million for community college training programs and $10 million to develop educational materials to support these programs. Both programs will support the immediate need for skilled health information technology (health...

Pharmacists underutilized in health system

When pharmacists get involved closely with patients' care, it can improve outcomes, especially if they work with the patient to manage chronic diseases. Not only that, pharmacists may help squeeze costs out of the system, as they're able to help physicians identify available drugs that can do the most cost-effective job of managing a patient's condition.Lately, the benefits of pharmacist involvement have started to develop a higher profile. In fact, a recent series of articles...

Digital Divide Appears Between Hospitals That Treat The Rich And Poor

"Hospitals that disproportionately care for poor patients are less likely than other hospitals to have adopted health information technology," according to an October study published in Health Affairs, American Medical News reports. The economic stimulus legislation in February directed $19 billion in federal investments to help all types of hospitals adopt electronic records, but some researchers are concerned the money may not close that divide. "Yet there is hope that...

ONC letter provides long-term blueprint

With yesterday’s release of an open letter concerning the term “meaningful use”, ONC Coordinator Dr. David Blumenthal provided healthcare stakeholders with a partial status report on the federal push for greater use of electronic health records. A close reading of the letter may also provide some ideas for how policymakers can sustain the move toward, and assess the long-term impact of, the desired technological transformation. While the letter is designed to provide an...

APhA Applauds Senate For Inclusion Of Expanded Patient Access To MTM Svc.

The American Pharmacist Association (APhA) applauds the United States Senate for including several provisions that provide patients better access to pharmacist clinical services in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590). These services will improve the quality of our nation's health care system and reduce the toll of non-adherence and chronic illness. The U.S. healthcare system currently incurs more than $177 billion annually in mostly avoidable...

CCHIT outlines certification criteria for meaningful use

The Certification Commission for Health IT said it plans to launch in October a certification program that includes criteria that will be required for providers to demonstrate meaningful use of their electronic health records by 2011. Healthcare providers must show that they are meaningful users of health IT to be eligible for increased Medicare and Medicaid payments provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. CCHIT said its plan will have options for...

CMS encourages EHR use for Medicare quality reporting

Healthcare providers will have the option to use electronic health record systems to report Medicare quality and electronic prescribing measures to CMS in some of its pay-for-performance programs next year, according to an announcement by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The revisions are designed “to promote adoption and use of electronic health records and to provide both eligible professionals and CMS with experience on EHR-based reporting,” CMS said in the Oct....

Google's Flu Trends Aid Swine Flu Surveillance, Scientists Say

Google Flu Trends, the influenza- monitoring service of Google Inc's philanthropic arm, tracked swine flu almost as well as the surveillance systems maintained by health-care workers, scientists in New Zealand found. Read more on "Google's Flu Trends Aids Swine Flu Surveillance, Scientists Say"

Microsoft to launch new healthcare IT Web series

REDMOND, WA – The Microsoft Corporation will launch an online video series on healthcare IT beginning Nov. 10. According to a spokesman of the Redmond, Wash.-based company, Microsoft Health Tech Today will address "the intersection of health and information technology" and "highlight the latest industry trends and feature examples of proven solutions that are improving health and changing lives for clinicians, patients and consumers worldwide." The show is dedigned to...

HHS to warn consumers of flu drug price gouging

The Department of Health and Human Services will issue consumer warnings about price variations for a scarce liquid form of the flu-fighting drug Tamiflu, a spokesman said Wednesday. "For someone to exploit this public health challenge for their own gain would be unconscionable," Hall said.

Electronic Prescribing Helps Prevent Injuries And Reduce Health Costs

Computer-based systems that allow clinicians to prescribe drugs electronically are designed to automatically warn of potential medication errors. A new study reveals electronic prescribing not only prevents mistakes, but is also helping to reduce health care costs. The study by investigators at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) suggests that Massachusetts physicians using a commercial electronic prescribing system for a six month...

ONC revisits linking consumer preferences to EHRs

Article about the inclusion of patient choices for advanced directives, including DNRs (do not resusitate orders) in interoperable EHRs. Read more on "ONC revisits linking consumer preferences to EHRs"

True cost of stimulus won't be known for years

There seem to be a lot of questions about just how much money the federal government is allocating for EMRs as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The number that gets bandied about the most is $19.5 billion, which breaks down to $17.5 billion in direct subsidies to hospitals and physician offices in the form of Medicare and Medicaid bonus payments, plus $2 billion in discretionary funding through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information...

CSI Calls Wired Mag's "2009 Smart List" Idea "Forget Medical Privacy" Profoundly Stupid

WASHINGTON–Today, the Cyber Secure Institute called Wired Magazine's idea that we should "forget medical privacy" profoundly stupid. This idea was part of the Magazine's 2009 list of "Smart Ideas," which is the cover story of Wired's October 2009 edition. As part of the magazine's annual list of "smart ideas," Wired endorsed an idea promoted by Jamie Heywood that people should forget about medical privacy. The article quotes Mr. Heywood as saying, "Privacy has been an excuse by...

Coalition of pharmacy, health groups urges Congress to address compliance

Pointing out that “one-third to one-half of patients in the United States do not take their medications as prescribed,” a broad coalition of 27 healthcare organizations is appealing to lawmakers to tackle the stubborn problem of patient noncompliance in health-reform proposals now advancing in Congress. Read more on "Coalition of pharmacy, health...

Poll: Prevention Top Health Reform Priority For Americans

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust for America’s Health have released a new poll showing overwhelming support by Americans for investment in prevention. The poll comes just as Congress is expected to begin considering reform proposals that could create sweeping changes in the U.S. health care system. The poll, conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, found that more than three quarters (76 percent) of Americans believe that the level...

NACDS - H1N1 Preparedness: An Overview of Vaccine Production and Distribution

Statement of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores For the Joint Hearing on “H1N1 Preparedness: An Overview Of Vaccine Production And Distribution" House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairmen Pallone and Stupak, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores appreciatesthe opportunity to...

Videos

Electronic Health Records 2.0: What Does the Future Hold?

This Expert voices panel focuses on Electronic Health Records 2.0, which aired on Federal News Radio (WFED) on February 28, 2012. Panelists include: Peter Basch, MD, FACP, Medical Director, Ambulatory EHR...

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