Industry News

Press-Release

CMS gets an earful on proposed MACRA changes from HIMSS, AMA, AMGA, others

June 29, 2016

With such a tight timeframe, healthcare providers are being rushed to choose the right quality measures and make the technology investments necessary to succeed, say some.

The timeline for the new framework's rollout – with a final rule and kick-off for the first reporting period both set for Jan. 1, 2017 – is extremely tight. As such, HIMSS has asked CMS change the reporting period for the Advancing Care Information component of MIPS (which would essentially replace meaningful use for Medicare physicians) to 90 days.

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HL7, IHE Renew Agreement for Interoperability, FHIR Collaboration

June 23, 2016

Health Level Seven International (HL7) and Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) have renewed their cooperation agreement to advance the goal of interoperability of health information.

In a joint statement of understanding, IHE and HL7 agreed to communicate and better coordinate schedules and projects to expedite the development and adoption of HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) standard.

“These two organizations have worked in complementary roles over more than 15 years and have been essential to advancing interoperability in health IT,” Michael McCoy, M.D., co-chair of the IHE International board, said in a statement. “HL7 is the leading developer of health IT standards, and IHE has put in place a process to help drive the adoption of standards by the health IT industry.”

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CMS Quality Strategy

May 25, 2016

About the CMS Quality Strategy

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is working to build a health care delivery system that’s better, smarter and healthier – a system that delivers improved care, spends healthcare dollars more wisely, and one that makes our communities healthier. As outlined in 2016 CMS Quality Strategy Update, CMS is using all policy levers and program authorities to achieve these goals by guiding the activities of all agency components and working together toward this transformation.

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These oral bacteria are linked to an increased chance of getting pancreatic cancer

Apr 21, 2016

Researchers have known for years that poor oral health, including bleeding gums and lots of missing teeth, is associated with a higher risk of getting pancreatic cancer. Now they are finding that certain bacteria linked to that periodontal disease may be behind the connection.

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A Hidden Factor in Stroke Severity: The Microbes in Your Gut

Apr 01, 2016

A new study in mice demonstrates that manipulating the microbiome can influence the extent of brain damage caused by a stroke

The bacteria that inhabit our guts have become key players for neuroscientists. A growing body of research links them to a wide array of mental and neurological disorders—from anxiety and depression to schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease.

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EHR Incentive Programs for Eligible Professionals: What You Need to Know for 2016 Tipsheet

Mar 30, 2016

CMS published a final rule on October 16, 2015 that specifies criteria that eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet in order to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs. The final rule’s provisions encompass the definition of meaningful use for 2015 through 2017.

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CDC updates Zika recommendations for sex and pregnancy

Mar 28, 2016

Women and men who do not have the virus but who live in areas where the virus is being transmitted are now advised to talk with their health care providers about plans for pregnancy during the ongoing outbreak.

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Endoscopic surgery for the antenatal treatment of myelomeningocele: the CECAM trial

Mar 21, 2016

A recent randomized clinical trial named Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS trial) showed that prenatal correction of open spina bifida (OSB) via open fetal surgery was associated with improved infant neurological outcomes relative to postnatal repair, but at the expense of increased maternal morbidity.

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ICD-10 to get 5,500 new codes, including ones for face, hand transplants, CMS says

Mar 18, 2016

CMS said it plans to add about 1,900 diagnosis codes and 3,651 hospital inpatient procedure codes to the coding system

Of the 3,651 new hospital inpatient procedure codes, 97 percent will update the cardiovascular and lower joint body systems, CMS said. There will also be new codes for a face transplant, hand transplant and donor organ perfusion, CMS said.

The large number of new codes is due to a partial freeze on updates prior to the original launch on October 1, 2015 according to CMS. The 2016 update will include the backlog of all proposals for changes to the code set.

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Seven Health IT Vendors Recognized for Developing ConCert by HIMSS™ Certified Products

Mar 1, 2016

Award ceremony one of many HIMSS16 Interoperability Showcase events featuring ConCert by HIMSS

To gain the ConCert by HIMSS mark for the certified products, each vendor completed a rigorous testing program to demonstrate that the product is interoperable with other products and can enable the secure, reliable, efficient and seamless transfer of data within and across organizational and state boundaries.

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Elder Rage: How to Survive Caring for Aging Parents

February 26, 2016

Shockingly, by age 65, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 11 men have Alzheimer’s, and by age 85 – it’s 50%! It deceptively starts very slowly and is so intermittent for so many years that most just chalk it up to normal aging. The key is early diagnosis and treatment for the best chance of longer independence. Please print these warning signs and keep them in a notebook where you can keep track and realize if it’s progressing -- and so you will have examples for the doctor you will need to find to get an accurate diagnosis -- a Neurologist SPECIALIZED in Dementia.

Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

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Why your gums bleed after you brush your teeth

February 26, 2016

A buildup of plaque—the cause of gum disease—also causes cavities.
If you don’t have any symptoms now, but have had cavities in the past, you should make an appointment every six months to a year to see your dentist!

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Important RHC: HCPCS Coding Guidance is here with a big surprise

February 24, 2016

  1. Chronic care management must be provided under physician supervision in a rural health clinic instead of general supervision as required in fee for service physician offices.
  2. Drawing blood by a lab technician in a lab using lab supplies is not a lab service but a rural health clinic service and HCPCS Code 36415 cannot be billed to Medicare Part B.
  3. Provider-based rural health clinics may not have visiting specialists in rural areas due to the exclusive use standard which limits access to healthcare in struggling rural communities.
  4. Home care plan oversight cannot billed in RHCs even if the required face to face visit for home care plan oversight is conducted.
  5. RHCs are expected to know if a surgery patient's surgeon billed a global procedure even if that surgeon has nothing to do with the RHC.

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The solution to Parkinson’s tremors

February 19, 2016

A drug-free alternative to treat Parkinson's disease tremors could be on the horizon -- in the form of a glove.

There is currently no cure for Parkinson's disease, a degenerative neurological condition that is estimated to affect between 7 and ten million people worldwide, according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation.

The proposed GyroGlove uses the laws of physics -- rather than chemistry -- to stabilize a patient's hand and control tremors mechanically.

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Payment Adjustments & Hardship Information

February 19, 2016

The streamlined hardship applications reduce the amount of information that eligible professionals (EPs), eligible hospitals, and CAHs must submit to apply for an exception. The new applications and instructions for a hardship exception from the Medicare Electronic Health Records Incentive Program 2017 payment adjustment are available on website.

Refer the link to read the instructions »

ConCert by HIMSS Announces Successful Completion of Pilot

February 12, 2016

HIMSS’s testing and certification program continues to accelerate the interoperability of EHRs and HIEs, creating a rigorous national framework

The 2016 ConCert by HIMSS Certified Products, honored during the 2016 IHE North American Connectathon Awards at the HIMSS Innovation Center & Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland, Ohio, include:

  • Caradigm
  • iPatientCare
  • MEDfx
  • Qvera

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What CMS says: The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) & Alternative Payment Models (APMs)

February 5, 2016

  1. What’s the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)?
    The MIPS is a new program that combines parts of the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the Value Modifier (VM or Value-based Payment Modifier), and the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) incentive program into one single program.
  2. What are Alternative Payment Models (APMs)?
    APMs give us new ways to pay health care providers for the care they give Medicare beneficiaries.

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Survey: Advanced credentials pay off for healthcare IT staff, boost some salaries above $130,000

February 5, 2016

The survey included 404 health IT professionals from 7 countries and 42 U.S. states. There is a correlation between the level of education and job satisfaction: Professionals with advanced degrees (master’s and doctorates) are more likely to be very satisfied (89 respondents) or at least somewhat satisfied (55) with their career choice, compared with people who are very dissatisfied (4), the survey determined.

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Majority of Patients Trust Healthcare Providers with Personal Information, Study Finds

February 1, 2016

The study indicated that respondents are more concerned about data privacy than they are about losing their income, as 68 percent were concerned about not knowing how personal information collected about them online is used compared with 57 percent concerned with losing their principle source of income.

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New Jersey may become second state to raise smoking age to 21

January 19, 2016

Beginning smoking at a young age increases the risk of long-term addiction to tobacco and to other drugs and makes quitting more difficult.

Groups like the American Legion have opposed anti-tobacco bills, adding that if 18-year-old can serve in the military, they should be able to smoke.

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Need help with insurance enrollment process?

January 12, 2016

Find someone nearby to help you apply.
People and groups in your community can help you apply, pick a plan, and enroll – all for free. Most are available to meet in-person. Call 1-800-318-2596 or

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Study Shines Light On Hospital Spending

January 12, 2016

Major insurer data analysis reveals “mind-boggling” variation across U.S. driving up healthcare costs.

“The fact that prices are so high and can vary so much for hospital treatments of the same costs and quality is simply mind-boggling to foreign observers of the U.S. healthcare system,” says John Van Reenen, professor of economics and director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics, one of the study’s authors. “This is surely one of the reasons why U.S. healthcare absorbs a bigger share of GDP than in every other large advanced country.”

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A 59-year-old man was tormented by a thunderous pounding in his head. Can you figure out why?

January 11, 2016

The patient was comforted by the fact that the abnormalities on his scans were not as dangerous as the other doctors seemed to think. But the noise and the thought of living another year with it was completely unacceptable.

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Get Your Patients Off to a Healthy Start in 2016

January 8, 2016

In the New Year, get your Medicare patients off to a healthy start by recommending the Initial Preventive Physical Examination (IPPE) or Annual Wellness Visit (AWV). Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Medicare covers these preventive services at no cost to your patients.

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Tension Headache

January 8, 2016

A tension headache is pain or discomfort in the head, scalp, or neck, usually associated with muscle tightness in these areas.

Other types of headaches include:

  • Cluster headache
  • Migraine headache

Any activity that causes the head to be held in one position for a long time without moving can cause a headache. Such activities include typing or other computer work, fine work with the hands, and using a microscope. Sleeping in a cold room or sleeping with the neck in an abnormal position may also trigger a tension headache.

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The 2016 Interoperability Standards Advisory is Here

January 7, 2016

ONC released the 2016 Interoperability Standards Advisory (ISA) — a coordinated catalog of existing and emerging standards and implementation specifications developed and used to meet specific interoperability needs.

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Is this the appropriate time to launch the Hospital-Sponsored Health Plans?

January 6, 2016

More and more hospitals are offering their own health plans, but success may hinge on the timing of the launch. Why is it so...?

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Top EHR trends in year 2016

January 4, 2016

Four EHR and other health IT trends the industry can expect to see in 2016:

  1. EHRs are moving toward the cloud
  2. EHRs will improve the patient portal experience
  3. Telemedicine will finally find its stride
  4. EHRs are going mobile

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How to Prevent medical identity theft

December 31, 2015

Listen to this brief podcast to learn how to avoid Medicaid medical identity theft.

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Docs are promoting Social Media to colleagues

December 30, 2015

An increasing number of physicians are wading onto Twitter, Facebook and other outlets, and they’re making their reasons known to encourage their colleagues to do the same. For example, Deann Attai, MD, (@DrAttai), a breast cancer expert surgeon at UCLA Health and president of The American Society of Breast Surgeons, says, “I no longer have to sift through piles of journals to pull out articles of interest - social media delivers the relevant content to me.”

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3 more ways to improve the hospital experience from the patient and family perspective

December 21, 2015

Earlier this year I wrote about the frustrating experience my family had trying to navigate the healthcare system and coordinate care for a relative after he fell ill, needed emergency surgery and then had complications that meant an extended stay in the intensive care unit.

Although he received good care and ultimately recovered...

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Recapping Recommended Changes to Meaningful Use Requirements

December 17, 2015

Neither AHA nor CHIME wants the next stage of the EHR Incentive Programs to begin prior to 2019. For its part, the former is seeking alignment between meaningful use requirements and those likely to come out of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

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Report From Chilmark Research Uncovers Opportunities In Burgeoning Remote Patient Monitoring Sector

December 17, 2015

In compiling this report, Chilmark Research spoke with over a dozen organizations from across the healthcare landscape - payers, providers, and vendors. The resulting analysis features specific examples from best-in-class vendors and delivery systems, as well as insight into how connected health is evolving in the face of shifting technology and payment landscapes.

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Things to Know Before Deciding on a Patient Notification System

December 16, 2015

A patient notification vendor should demonstrate flexibility in fees, such as charging per notification or per patient/member on a monthly basis to simplify budgeting. Your organization should also be able to use the same comprehensive platform for communication across the continuum of care as well as for payments.

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Cancer Patients can Dodge The Flu by Doubling The Dose Of Flu Vaccines

December 10, 2015

“This has been an unmet need for quite some time across many cancers,” said senior study author Dr. Madhav Dhodapkar, chief of the section of hematology at Yale Cancer Center. Cancer patients are more likely recommended to receive the flu vaccine, but this is not often very effective for them.

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Brush up on common codes & find specialty resources with the Road to 10 tool

December 10, 2015

Now that ICD-10 is in use across the country, take some time to make sure your clinical documentation is up to par.

  • Use specialty-specific training tools to practice using ICD-10. Interactive Case Studies are also available to practice your clinical documentation and coding skills.
  • Watch videos, hear stories from the road, learn perspectives from the field, and gain clinical insight.
  • A new interactive tool is available to quiz you on documentation for ICD-10 across a variety of clinical scenarios.

Refer the link to Read More »

Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment Snapshot – Week 5

December 10, 2015

Heading into the final days before the December 15 deadline for January 1 coverage, more than 1 million new consumers signed-up for health coverage through the HealthCare.gov platform and about 1.8 million have returned to the Marketplace to renew their coverage for 2016. As expected, consumer interest in health coverage is increasing as we approach the December 15 deadline with over 800,000 people selecting plans during the fifth week of Open Enrollment. In total, 2.84 million consumers have made plan selections since November 1.

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Why hospital-owned health plans are big like cheese in Wisconsin

December 10, 2015

Dean Health Plan, Security Health Plan, Unity Health Insurance and several others offer commercial, Medicare and Medicaid coverage in the state. Those plans cover almost a third (32%) of Wisconsin's insured population based on a recent analysis from consulting firm Deloitte. The only state with a higher concentration is Utah, where 36% of people are covered by provider plans.

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Growth of multipayer PCMH reform across the country

December 9, 2015

States have played a dominant role in multi-payer PCMH initiatives with Medicaid agencies overwhelmingly providing the infrastructure and support, but there are other state departments and agencies that can be leveraged.

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Will EHR Optimization Projects Take Center Stage in 2016?

December 8, 2015

With the calendar about to bid goodbye to 2015, the attention now turns to 2016 and the opportunities next year holds for providers without a major federal mandate or otherwise hanging over their heads. So is now then the time for these health systems, hospitals, and physician practices to spend time improving inefficiencies internally?

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Should you truly pay criminals to recover your data?

December 7, 2015

Ransomware attacks and tools are on the ascent and maybe more so than has been generally seen so far.

Hackers split into a system by means of vindictive URLs or malware, discover information they can encode with moderately ease tools, and after that request either cash or Bitcoins to return it.

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HIMSS Launches Value Score, Healthcare’s First International Quality and Value Measurement for Health IT

December 4, 2015

HIMSS, a global voice, advisor and thought leader on transformation of health and healthcare through information technology (IT), announced the launch of the HIMSS Value Score, healthcare's first international quality measurement for the value of health IT. The Value Score builds off of HIMSS' Value Suite and HIMSS Analytics' Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM) and will help healthcare providers optimize and use IT to improve clinical and financial outcomes, and drive efficiencies in care.

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Endorsement to bill that would expand veterans’ access to telehealth services

December 4, 2015

The bill would empower suppliers associated with the Department of Veterans Affairs to convey telemedicine administrations crosswise over state lines, taking out a necessity that the suppliers be authorized in the same state.

"It is unacceptable that our veterans must overcome artificial barriers when attempting to access healthcare, and we commend you for your work to remove these restrictions," the letter said.

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USDA increases rural telehealth funding

November 25, 2015

Since the program began in 2009, the USDA has provided more than $213 million in grants and loans for 634 distance learning and telemedicine projects in rural areas nationwide.

Funding care in rural Arkansas is one major focus of the USDA program. Baptist Health in Little Rock has received two USDA grants to set-up a critical care network to create an interoperable system between six medical centers. AV equipment allows specialists to virtually make rounds, reaching patients faster.

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New CMS Web Tool Will Improve Access to and Transparency of Information on Medicare Enrollment, Utilization, and Expenditures

November 24, 2015

The CMS Program Statistics website replaces the former Medicare and Medicaid Statistical Supplement, which was published annually in electronic form from 2001-2013. The website will include over 100 detailed, easy-to- access data tables on national health care, Medicare populations, utilization, and expenditures, as well as counts for Medicare-certified institutional and non-institutional providers.

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Where Health Information Exchange Fits in Care Management

November 23, 2015

The health system spanning Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware relies on statewide HIEs to help move patient health data between providers and EHR technologies. That isn't to say that HIE alternatives are not a viable means of achieving the same end.

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2015 sees a change in EHR purchase motivations

November 20, 2015

Practice efficiency tops the podium

Among both hospital-owned and freestanding ambulatory practices, respondents overwhelmingly cited potential efficiencies to be gained (38.5 and 34.5% respectively). The desire to increase efficiency is likely the product of the current economic pressures and the high rate of competition in the ambulatory market.

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CARROT JUICE – The best juice for the morning

November 19, 2015

In therapeutic use as a medicine, carrot juice is necessary to drink in the morning before breakfast and about 150 ml, always freshly squeezed juice.
Percent of carrot juice is very effective in killing bacteria.
It is preferable to keep it a little in your mouth before swallowing.
In addition, one glass of this drink is enough to eliminate heartburn.

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How hospitals are prepping for Medicare’s mandatory bundled-pay test

November 19, 2015

Hospitals in dozens of U.S. markets are now cramming for a compulsory test of Medicare payment reform. The hardest part may be that their success relies on the work of partners they aren't used to collaborating with.

Hospitals in 67 metropolitan areas learned this week they have no choice but to accept a single sum for the cost of care during and 90 days after patients visit the hospital for hip and knee replacement surgery, a strategy known as bundled payments.

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AMA Delegates Adopt Policies on Prescription Drug Monitoring and Meaningful Use

November 19, 2015

The American Medical Association’s (AMA) policy-making House of Delegates at its interim meeting yesterday adopted a number of health IT-related policies, including a policy aimed at streamlining meaningful use requirements.

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More FAQs Address Meaningful Use Public Health Reporting

November 18, 2015

“For 2015, how should a provider report on the public health reporting objective if they had planned to be in Stage 1 meaningful use which required sending a test message and continued submission if successful, but did not require registration of intent?”

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What Is Arthritis?

November 16, 2015

Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a group of conditions that typically involve inflammation and pain in the joints. Arthritis typically develops where two or more bones meet, although it can affect other tissues in the body. Arthritis can lead to joint weakness and physical deformities that can interfere with even the most basic daily activities. Arthritis pain varies considerably in severity. It may come and go, which is called episodic pain, or it may be chronic, meaning you'll feel it all the time.

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White House Reveals Privacy and Trust Principles for Precision Medicine Initiative

November 16, 2015
As part of its Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) announced in January 2015, the White House’s interagency agency working group has developed privacy and trust principles for activities within the agenda.

The initiative’s aim, per President Barack Obama’s announcement earlier this year, is to pioneer a new model of patient-powered research to accelerate biomedical discoveries and provide clinicians with new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients.

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Wearables can help enable better engagement, collaborations

November 16, 2015

Connected Health 2015: Providers must better understand people to improve health landscape

Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation Medical Director Douglas Wood believes that doctors and hospitals currently are too focused on providing healthcare for patients rather than helping people achieve healthy lifestyles.

"We have a $3 trillion industry of healthcare, but health is a little bitty part of it," he said during an executive spotlight this week at the HIMSS Connected Health Summit in Maryland.

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Creating a culture of cyber-security isn’t just about laying down rules and asking people to follow them

November 16, 2015
Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, says developing a well-trained and proactive workforce is key to hospitals and health systems as they stare down growing and evolving cyber-security threats.

But, as these things often are, that's easier said than done.

At the Healthcare IT News Privacy & Security Forum in Boston on Dec. 2, Kaiser will offer his perspective on the unique challenges - but also opportunities - providers face as they set about shaping "the next generation of cybersecurity professionals."

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4 security controls OIG will focus on in 2016

November 10, 2015
The HHS' Office of Inspector General (OIG) has listed several new and revised security measures in its new 2016 work plan for better management of electronic health records and devices.

Here's a look at four key areas.

  1. For controls over networked medical devices at hospitals, OIG will examine whether FDA's oversight of these devices is sufficient to effectively protect associated electronic protected health information (ePHI) and ensure patients' safety.
  2. The OIG will also take new measures to determine the adequacy of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) oversight over the security of electronic protected health information (ePHI).
  3. Revised measures in the plan will include Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) oversight of states' Medicaid information systems security controls.
  4. Also revised will be state-based marketplaces information system security controls.

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Despite an appreciation for the benefits of Chronic care management, providers are struggling to add it to current operations

November 3, 2015
On Jan. 1, 2015 hospitals became eligible for reimbursement when treating patients with two or more chronic conditions.

Under CPT code 99490, in fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will pay clinicians an average of $43.12 for spending at least 20 minutes in non-face-to-face consults. There's little questioning the financial opportunity.

CareSync CEO Travis Bond estimated that CMS could pay out as much as $17 billion a year under chronic care management and suggested that total might triple when commercial payers, as they are prone to do, start following CMS' lead.

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Health IT Design Improvements for Patient Health Literacy

November 2, 2015
Communication is essential to effective patient engagement, but patients historically have had little input into how providers present information to them.

The latest work on patient health literacy by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) looks to bridge information gaps between providers and patients.

The division within the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) recently published the second edition of its guidance for healthcare organizations to consider when generating online content for patients — Health Literacy Online: A Guide to Simplifying the User Experience.

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Abstinence may be the only way to manage a drinking problem.

November 2, 2015
Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol use disorder is when your drinking causes serious problems in your life, yet you keep drinking. You may also need more and more alcohol to feel drunk. Stopping suddenly may cause withdrawal symptoms.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism recommends:
Women should not drink more than 1 drink per day
Men should not drink more than 2 drinks per day

Drinking may mask depression or other mood or anxiety disorders. If you have a mood disorder, it may become more noticeable when you stop drinking. Your health care provider will treat any mental disorders in addition to your alcohol treatment.

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Researchers tap data exchange to uncover cancer drivers

October 28, 2015
Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in San Diego utilized a health data exchange to analyze tens of thousands of protein structures, mapping them with cancer patient data to find "cancer driver genes" that enable cancer development, according to a report in the in PLOS Computational Biology.

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House repeals Obamacare again

October 28, 2015
By a vote of 240 to 189, the U.S. House of Representatives repealed part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act within a budget reconciliation bill that takes aim at the Cadillac tax, medical device tax and the individual mandate.

The vote went along party lines, with only one Democrat in favor - Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota - and seven Republicans voting against. Peterson, who opposes abortion, voted for the bill that also defunds federal funding for Planning Parenthood.

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High cholesterol levels often begin in childhood

October 23, 2015
Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance found in all parts of the body. Your body makes some cholesterol, and some cholesterol comes from the food you eat. Your body needs a little bit of cholesterol to work properly. But too much cholesterol can clog your arteries and lead to heart disease. This article focuses on cholesterol and your diet.

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Blumenthal, Durbin Statement on New Study Identifying Dietary Supplement Use Causes More Than 20,000 E.R. Visits Every Year

October 20, 2015
U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) issued the following statement today on a new study finding that dietary supplement use results in more than 20,000 emergency room visits every year:

“This study confirms that not enough is being done to protect consumers—especially young adults—from dangerous dietary supplements. Despite industry’s assertions that side effects from dietary supplements are extremely rare, we now know that dietary supplements have in fact resulted in tens of thousands of severe injuries and hospitalizations each year. The Dietary Supplement Labeling Act, which we introduced in the last session of Congress, would have required dietary supplement to carry labels warning consumers of major side effects and helped prevent many of the hospitalizations this study documents. This bill, which we plan to reintroduce, is desperately needed to improve the currently inadequate oversight of dietary supplements.”

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AAFP: Health IT Industry Should be Closer to EHR Interoperability

October 15, 2015
Although the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) recently released its Interoperability Roadmap, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) does not believe that is enough to achieve nationwide EHR interoperability in a timely manner.

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U.S. Health Care from a Global Perspective: Spending, Use of Services, Prices, and Health in 13 Countries

October 13, 2015
This analysis draws upon data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and other cross-national analyses to compare health care spending, supply, utilization, prices, and health outcomes across 13 high-income countries: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These data predate the major insurance provisions of the Affordable Care Act. In 2013, the U.S. spent far more on health care than these other countries. Higher spending appeared to be largely driven by greater use of medical technology and higher health care prices, rather than more frequent doctor visits or hospital admissions.

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Survey: Only half of healthcare providers adequately equipped with information about cryptogenic stroke

October 12, 2015
Results from a new survey from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association found that only half of healthcare professionals consider themselves to be adequately equipped with information about cryptogenic stroke, a stroke in which the underlying cause is still unknown after extensive testing. Depending on their specialty, 51-70 percent of physicians admit being uncertain about the best approaches to finding the underlying causes of these strokes. The survey, conducted this summer, polled 652 healthcare professionals including neurologists, cardiologists, hospitalists, primary care physicians and stroke coordinators.

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People often end up in emergency room because of infection-related falls

October 12, 2015
People who end up in the emergency room because of a fall often are tripped up by an infection, rather than a loose throw rug or poor eyesight, suggests a study being presented at IDWeek 2015™.

Bloodstream, urinary and respiratory infections are the most common culprits for infection-related falls, according to the Massachusetts General Hospital study. The findings also suggest that while these falls may be more common in the elderly, they shouldn't be overlooked in younger people: 20 percent of patients in the study were younger than 65.

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Is Schizophrenia Linked to the Flu?

October 9, 2015
Are mental illnesses caused by infection?

Insanity is infectious—or so says Dr. Ian Lipkin, a famed epidemiologist from Columbia University, who is internationally recognized for his work on West Nile virus and SARS.

He’s one of many renowned doctors featured in Harriet A. Washington’s new book Infectious Madness, which explores the growing body of evidence that suggests mental illnesses can be caused by infection. Lipkin, who’s written a great deal on the topic, believes mental illness can result from infections such as strep, influenza, and herpes simplex. Not all the doctors in the book agree.

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Miniature human kidney grown in a dish

October 8, 2015
Miniature human kidneys have been grown in a Petri dish using stem cells as the starting point, report scientists in Australia.

The mini-kidneys, measuring up to 1cm, were the equivalent of the developing organ in a 13-week-old foetus.
The team say the findings, published in the journal Nature, could lead to new ways of testing drugs and eventually a way of replacing damaged kidneys.
Experts said there was still a long way to go.

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Health IT Week: Interoperability has improved, but much work remains

October 8, 2015
So much has happened in the 10 years since the first National Health IT Week, yet so much remains to be done.
That was the theme Wednesday afternoon in the opening session of the HIMSS Policy Summit in Washington, a part of health IT Week that includes time to lobby members of Congress.

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Connecticut’s ‘Money Follows The Person’ Yields Positive Results For Transitioning People Out Of Institutions

October 8, 2015
A centerpiece of federal and state efforts to rebalance long-term services and supports to enhance consumer choice and contain costs, the federal Money Follows the Person Rebalancing Demonstration helps qualified individuals living in institutions make the transition to life in the community.

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CMS drops final EHR meaningful use rule

October 7, 2015
Stage 3 gets greenlight, 90-day reporting period approved

It's final. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and ONC have released final rules for the EHR Incentive Programs, which they say will ease reporting requirements for providers and allow for 90-day reporting periods. They also announced major news on Stage 3 of the program.

The 2015 rule builds on 2011 and 2014 and is reflective of input from industry stakeholders, according to Karen DeSalvo, MD, national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary for Health at HHS.

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Women With Alzheimer’s-Related Gene Lose Weight More Sharply After Age 70, SUNY Downstate Medical Center Study

October 6, 2015
Researchers led by Deborah Gustafson, PhD, MS, professor of neurology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center, have shown that women with a gene variant (APOEe4 allele) associated with Alzheimer’s disease experience a steeper decline in body mass index (BMI) after age 70 than those women without the version of the gene, whether they go on to develop dementia or not. The finding adds to a body of evidence suggesting that body weight change may aid in the diagnosis and management of Alzheimer's disease.

The results of the study are published online in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease 48(4). The article is entitled, “37 Years of Body Mass Index and Dementia: Effect Modification by the APOE Genotype: Observations from the Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg, Sweden.” Dr. Gustafson is also docent and affiliate researcher, University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy, Neuropsychiatric Epidemiology Research Unit, in Sweden.

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EHR Software Comparison: Brief Overview of the Top 10 EHRs

October 6, 2015
The market for electronic medical records software reached $24.9 billion in 2014. By 2019, spending is predicted to reach $35.2 billion. In July, the Pentagon signed a contract with EHR vendors Leidos and Cerner worth $4.3 billion over two years to modernize the Defense Healthcare Management System.

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AMA Urges CMS to Grant Automatic Hardship Exemptions for Meaningful Use

October 5, 2015
As the Stage 2 meaningful use modification rule has yet to be released, The American Medical Association (AMA) is calling on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to give automatic hardship exemptions for physicians who did not attest to Stage 2 of the meaningful use program this year.

AMA issued a statement on Thursday citing the agency’s delay in releasing the modification rule for the electronic health record (EHR) meaningful use program for 2015 through 2017.

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Flu redux? Unpredictable virus means no ruling out repeat of last year’s season

October 5, 2015
After last year's devastating flu season, which hospitalized the largest number of seniors in the U.S. ever recorded, public health officials have had to assure providers that the flu vaccines they're getting right about now will work.At a news conference in September, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, admitted that last fall and winter were a “bad year for flu.”

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ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in Adults

October 5, 2015
We usually think of ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as a children's condition. But it's estimated that around 8 million American adults may also have ADHD, and many have gone untreated because they were never diagnosed when they were children.

In adults, ADHD sometimes gets written off as a personality quirk or bad habits. But it can really affect the things you care about most, like your career or marriage. It may even lead to substance abuse.

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Children’s Health

October 2, 2015
Children’s heath involves keeping your child physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. A partnership between a child’s family and the child’s physician helps assure the child will receive the care needed to reach these goals.

Few informative points:

  • Choosing Your Child’s Doctor
  • Scheduling Doctor Visits
  • Making the Most of Your Visit with Your Child’s Doctor
  • Leading Causes of Death in Infants and Children

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Why a 3 percent rise in telehealth usage makes a big difference

October 2, 2015
Organizations are turning to telemedicine to extend their care reach, add new services, cut costs

HIMSS Analytics' recent Essentials Brief, the 2015 Telemedicine Study, found a 3 percent increase in the number of organizations using telemedicine solutions/services since 2014. While small, the increase indicates that organizations are turning to telemedicine to help expand their care reach, provide additional services and potentially lower the cost of care.

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ICD-10 diagnostic code set is live

October 1, 2015
It's October 1, 2015, the ICD-10 diagnostic code set is live at last, and medical professionals now have nearly 70,000 codes to choose from when filing patient claims.

Hepatitis is most often caused by a virus

September 30, 2015
“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. The liver is a vital organ that processes nutrients, filters the blood, and fights infections. When the liver is inflamed or damaged, its function can be affected. Heavy alcohol use, toxins, some medications, and certain medical conditions can cause hepatitis.

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A new gene-editing breakthrough

September 30, 2015
A FEW years ago, molecular biologists made a big breakthrough. By borrowing an antiviral mechanism from bacteria, they created an easy way to tweak the genetic information inside cells – a technique that had enormous implications for science, medicine and agriculture. However, a dispute over who exactly invented what first has threatened to curtail its potential. But CRISPR-Cas9, as the disputed technique is called, turns out not to be the only way bacteria protect themselves from the attentions of viruses.

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Most of World’s People Lack Access to Safe Cancer Surgery: Report

September 29, 2015
Most cancer patients worldwide don't have access to needed surgeries, a new study finds.

More than 80 percent of the 15 million people diagnosed with cancer in 2015 will require an operation, but fewer than a quarter of them will have access to safe and affordable surgical care.

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For Weight Control, Fruit and Vegetable Choice May Matter

September 29, 2015
Eating more fruits and vegetables can help control weight, but a new study suggests that it depends on which fruits and vegetables you eat.

Researchers recorded diet information for 117,918 men and women in their 30s and 40s at the start of a study and followed them for 24 years, with interviews at four-year intervals.

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Text messaging patients reduces heart attack, stroke, smoking

September 28, 2015
Benefits to exercise, smoking cessation, and weight loss are well understood by patients and hospitals alike. What has been traditionally more difficult to pinpoint, however, are techniques to make those lifestyle modifications happen.

Among the software and tools being tested to trigger such changes, the simple practice of texting targeted reminders to patients has shown a certain degree of optimistic meddle.

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ONC seeks feedback on draft interoperability standards

September 28, 2015
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released a draft of the 2016 Interoperability Standards Advisory for public comment. It contains updates to the advisory's structure and content based on input from the public and the Health IT Standards Committee.

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HHS gears up for increasingly tough enrollment challenge

September 25, 2015
Roughly 17.6 million Americans have received some type of health coverage since the Affordable Care Act was passed five years ago, HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said Tuesday. That's a 1.2 million bump from a previous estimate released in March.

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Top of mind for med students? So much

September 24, 2015
The 10th annual Epocrates Future Physicians of America survey reveals that medical students have plenty to think about.
The results of the survey released this week by athenahealth reveal the opinions of more than 1,000 medical students on medical school training, the future of technology and industry challenges.

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Veterans go for digital psychotherapy

September 24, 2015
Computerized psychotherapies, or CPTs, hold great interest for veterans receiving outpatient treatment, according to a study published in Telemedicine and e-Health.

The study, relying on information provided by 151 veterans receiving treatment in a Veterans Health Administration substance use disorder outpatient clinic, showed veterans were open to a variety of CPTs.

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Healthcare is finding a comfort level with wearables

September 23, 2015
There are seminal moments in the evolution of healthcare – think the invention of the stethoscope, the discovery of penicillin, cracking the genetic code. We're in such a moment today, and the organizing principle of this current wave is data-driven digital transformation. Through technology, healthcare information is becoming more granular, more liquid and more relevant, and it's being employed with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

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Study: HITECH Act Boosted EHR Use, Misses Mark with Interoperability

September 23, 2015
Significant policy changes, such as the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, have advanced the adoption of health information technology (HIT), but, so far, these efforts have missed the overall goal of creating an interoperable healthcare system, according to a recent report from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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ONC releases final Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020

September 22, 2015
Embracing a long-term vision for nationwide health information technology that 'puts the person at the center,' the the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has finalized its strategy for the next five years.

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Increasing Transplant Organ Supply Through Uncontrolled Donation After Cardiac Death

September 21, 2015
Each year, thousands of people die in the United States while waiting for a kidney or liver transplant and tens of thousands remain on the waiting list for these organs. The primary source of transplant organs in the US is brain dead donors, who make up about 12,000 of the 2 million people who die in the US each year. Although they are a small percentage of the people who die in the US, brain dead individuals make up 92 percent of organ donors.

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Delay Stage 3 meaningful use, senator urges again

September 18, 2015
Delay Stage 3 meaningful use until 2017 and take time to do it right, urges Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee.

Alexander, who made his plea in a press statement released Wednesday, called for a delay until Jan. 1, 2017, for making final rules for Stage 3 of the federal government's Meaningful Use EHR Incentive Program.

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CMS to Host Call on 2017 Medicare Payment Adjustments

September 16, 2015
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is preparing to update eligible professionals and group practices on its plans for 2017 Medicare payment adjustments in an upcoming Medicare Learning Network (MLN) Provider Call on September 24.

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Why ICD-10 Transition Hinges on Clinical Documentation

September 16, 2015
According to MU Health ICD-10 Program Gregory Brown, PMP, the buildup to the ICD-10 implementation has made what clear what is most essential to a successful ICD-10 transition — clinical documentation. In the following a one-on-one interview with EHRIntelligence.com, Brown provides detail about his organization's ICD-10 preparations, keys to success, and concerns counting down to October 1.

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Protecting The Women’s Health Movement On A Global Scale

September 15, 2015
By observing and analyzing what those working against human rights are doing we can prepare to provide scientifically based arguments and share them with decision makers. We need to be ready to protect and disseminate messages on the safety of emergency contraception or the impact of unsafe abortion in maternal mortality.

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Harvard, MIT researchers identify 10 million genetic variations in exome

September 15, 2015
In a pathbreaking effort to identify genes associated with diseases, researchers at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard using data analytics have developed one of the most thorough portraits of human genetic variation, according to a report from The Atlantic.

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Providers’ adoption, understanding of telemedicine grows in 2015

September 14, 2015
Use of telemedicine continues to see an uptick, with 57.7 percent of providers adopting such tools this year, up from 54.5 percent in 2014, according to a new HIMSS Analytics study.

"One of the bigger things we found was not only the increase in adoption of these telemedicine services and solutions year-over-year, but also from my perspective the familiarity of these solutions; there are fewer people who are unsure about whether they use these types of solutions," Brendan FitzGerald, HIMSS Analytics Research Director, told FierceHealthIT in an interview.

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Study: More Aggressive Blood Pressure Treatment Has Significant Benefits

September 14, 2015
Researchers are reporting urgent and potentially lifesaving information for millions of Americans who have high blood pressure.

The findings were from a NIH-sponsored study that included more than 9,300 blood pressure patients age 50 and older with risk factors. One group of patients reached the current target for systolic blood pressure: 140. The other half was treated more aggressively to reach a target of 120.

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Former security advisor to multiple presidents will keynote the HIMSS and Healthcare IT News Privacy & Security

September 11, 2015
Richard Clarke, cybersecurity expert and former national security advisor to three U.S. presidents – will keynote the HIMSS and Healthcare IT News Privacy & Security Forum Dec. 1-3 in Boston.

The three-day event is designed to equip CISOs, CIOs and other senior healthcare IT leaders with business-critical solutions and best practices to safeguard their data.

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Industry association calls on Congress to take action in areas critical to the advancement of health IT and care delivery

September 11, 2015
Looking toward National Health IT Week in early October, Healthcare IT News parent HIMSS called on Congress to act in three ways.

As it does annually, HIMSS public policy team compiled a list of issues Congress should tackle in the coming year and, not surprisingly, chief among those is health information exchange. Building on those, HIMSS also called for advancements in cybersecurity and telehealth.

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Lack of ICD-10 Readiness Leads Multiple States to Crosswalks

September 10, 2015
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) made clear in its most recent national provider call that Medicare is set to receive ICD-10 codes on October 1, with all its systems up and running and a new figure appointed to the position of ICD-10 ombudsman.

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How CPOE Adoption Helps Clinicians Treat Stroke Effectively

September 10, 2015
In the emergency department, clinicians must move quickly to treat patients with serious conditions with little margin for error. Based on findings of a recent Kaiser Permanente study, computerized physician order entry (CPOE) can make a meaningful difference when treating individuals presenting with acute ischemic stroke.

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Researchers gets millions for genomic work

September 8, 2015
Two Geisinger researchers, leading a large team of investigators, have been awarded more than $3.5 million as part of a national effort to better understand the genetic basis of disease. The research will lead to tailoring medical treatment based on patients' genetic makeup.

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AHRQ offers patient safety grants

September 4, 2015
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is offering a series of grants of up to $1.5 million for research projects that examine patient safety in ambulatory care and long-term facilities.

The purpose of the initiative is to develop strategies for improving care delivery in these settings and developing tools to implement those tactics, the agency said in its announcement.

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Measurement science must keep pace

September 4, 2015
Advances in technology have made it possible for the healthcare field to start leveraging the large amounts of data available from electronic health records, insurance claims, federal and state sources, and communities, they note. Meanwhile, advances in delivery system integration have created a platform whereby measurement can effectively be used for improvement and reporting with less cost.

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Sen. Blumenthal Statement on FDA Action to Protect Consumers from Deadly Powdered Caffeine

September 3, 2015
"I continue to urge the FDA to move forward with a ban on the retail sale of pure powdered caffeine to once and for all stop this product from killing consumers. We cannot afford to lose any more lives as the result of deceptive labeling and marketing of the dangerous product" says Senator Richard Blumenthal.

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Failing to encrypt portable devices containing patient data could result in a serious HIPAA fine

September 3, 2015
Cancer Care Group, a large radiation oncology practice in Indianapolis, is reevaluating its privacy and security practices after it was slapped with a $750,000 HIPAA settlement from the Department of Health and Human Services. It agreed to pay the sum to settle alleged HIPAA violations involving a breach that occurred three years ago.

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Senator asked the VA and FCC to work together to expand its Lifeline Program

September 3, 2015
The Lifeline Program discount is used by veterans to contact VA for benefits or medical appointments, or to communicate with potential employers or housing providers.

"Both broadband and telecommunications technologies are pivotal to conduct daily activities, pursue job and housing opportunities and stay in touch with family members." Blumenthal wrote in a letter Monday to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert A. McDonald and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler.

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Local Hospitals Finalize Plans For Papal Visit

September 1, 2015
The Hospital and Health System Association of Pennsylvania has been working with the city, since the beginning of the planning process.

Regional Manager of Emergency Preparedness Mark Ross says expectant mothers who need to get to a hospital, will likely have a choice.

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Avoiding Expensive And Consequential Health Care Decisions Based On Weak Research Designs

August 31, 2015
Long before Congress created the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, giving $32 billion to health care providers to transfer to Electronic Health Records (EHR) vendors, plans for that windfall were created by an by Health Information Technology (HIT) vendors, HIT enthusiasts, and friendly politicians (like Newt Gingrich).

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States look for better ways to encourage vaccinations

August 31, 2015
When kids start school this fall, it's a sure bet that some won't have had their recommended vaccines because their parents have claimed exemptions from school requirements for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.
That outbreak, which eventually infected 147 people in seven states, was a wake-up call for many parents, who may not have realized how contagious or serious the disease can be, and for states as well, say public health officials.

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Texas Health Resources to put ‘risk-based lens’ on initiatives

August 27, 2015
Texas Health Resources (THR) currently is working on a data center migration which is part of the health system's aim of putting a "risk-based lens" on its initiatives.

Two of THR's hospitals house data centers will be working on creating a co-location strategy with high reliability and availability. The process is entering the blueprinting phase soon and migration will start later next year.

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The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs cuts disability claims backlog to under 100,000

August 27, 2015
The current backlog of 98,535 claims older than 125 days is the lowest since the agency started measuring the claims backlog in 2007, Allison Hickey, the VA's undersecretary for benefits, wrote in a VA blog post.

The VA is also on track to complete nearly 1.4 million claims this fiscal year – exceeding 1 million claims for the fifth year in a row, setting a record. Hickey said veterans with a pending claim have been waiting, on average, 105 days for a claim decision, 177 days less than the March 2013 peak of 282 days.

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Some Hospitals Boost Health by Preventing Violence

August 25, 2015
Truman Medical Center Hospital Hill in Kansas City, Missouri, embeds so-called violence interrupters into its trauma team, whose job is to quell urges of retaliatory violence among shooting, stabbing and assault survivors and the victims' social circle. The golden hour after a bleeding or injured victim is rushed to the trauma unit is when these non-medical peace-brokers can make the biggest impact on reducing further acts of violence in the city.

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Online interactions motivate sedentary cardiac patients to exercise

August 25, 2015
Online interactive planning sessions personalized to an individual's needs were found to be an effective tool for initiating physical activity among sedentary cardiac patients, according to a new study.

In particular, a "tailored social cognitive intervention" was found to be more effective than free vouchers to nearby gyms. The combination of both, however, was more effective than the former strategy.

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How providers can make the most of ICD-10’s specificity

August 25, 2015
Any codes that will be expanded in ICD-10 hold promise to enhance research and process improvements, and health information management specialists can help make the most all the new code set has to offer, according to American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA)-approved ICD-10 trainer Cathie Wilde.

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Taking telemedicine to school

August 25, 2015
School districts are taking a shine to telehealth, as evidence by some new projects in Texas and Georgia.

In north Texas, the Children's Health System of Dallas is expanding a pilot project launched two years ago in two pre-schools with the rollout of a telehealth platform in 57 schools across four counties. Funded by a Medicaid waiver, the program places telemedicine carts in each school and allows for a virtual consultation between the school nurse and a doctor or nurse practitioner at Children's.

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Updated eCQMs, specifications, & 2016 QRDA Implementation Guide for 2016 reporting

August 25, 2015
CMS strongly encourages the implementation and use of the updates to the electronic specifications of the CQMs finalized in the Stage 2 rule for the 2015 EHR Reporting Period since those updates include new codes, logic corrections and clarifications.

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Getting The WHO To Take The Reins In Global Pandemics

August 24, 2015
Report of the Ebola Interim Assessment Panel welcomes Chan’s “plan for an expanded and stronger Global Health Emergency Workforce” and recommends training more WHO staff for emergency response as well as conducting regular simulation exercises and post-emergency joint evaluations. The WHO would designate standby staff, adopt policies that facilitate rapid deployment, and create frameworks for action so a staff member knows exactly what he or she is to do in an emergency.

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Greater Exemption Rates And Disease Outbreaks by some State Vaccination Laws in US

August 24, 2015
Health officials attest that immunizations are among the most successful interventions in public health. However, there remains a substantial unvaccinated population in the United States. We analyzed how state-level vaccination exemption laws affect immunization rates and the incidence of preventable disease.

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Apps Predict Suicide Risk With 90% Accuracy

August 21, 2015
the researchers studied 217 men diagnosed with:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Schizophrenia; or
  • Other psychiatric disorders

During the study period, about 20% of the subjects went from no suicidal ideation to high levels of suicidal ideation. The researchers analyzed their blood samples to identify RNA biomarkers that correlated with suicidal thoughts.

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CMS Quick Start Guide can help prepare you for the ICD-10 transition

August 20, 2015
To help physicians and other providers get quickly up to speed, CMS has launched the ICD-10 Clinical Concepts Series for specialties. Each guide in the series compiles key information from the Road to 10 online tool in a PDF format.

The guides include common ICD-10 codes, clinical documentation tips, clinical scenarios, and links to Road to 10.

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Diabetes weakens the immune system, making a person more vulnerable to Tuberculosis

August 20, 2015
Tuberculosis (TB) has recently made headlines in the U.S. This disease infects about 8.6 million people every year and kills 1.5 million, more than any other infectious disease except human immunodeficiency virus infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS).

Globally, it is now estimated that 15 percent of people who develop TB are also living with diabetes — equating to over 1 million people worldwide.

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4 big data privacy and security recommendations

August 19, 2015
The application of big data analytics in healthcare brings opportunities to improve the health of both individuals and their communities.

To that end, the workgroup offered four recommendations to manage security concerns relating to big data in healthcare:

  1. Address potentially harmful actions, including discrimination concerns
  2. Address uneven policy environment
  3. Protect health information by improving trust in de-identification methodologies and reducing the risk of re-identification
  4. Support secure use of data for learning

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Emergency doc designs inexpensive, 3-D printed stethoscope

August 18, 2015
An emergency doctor in the Gaza strip has designed an inexpensive stethoscope that can outperform some of its more highly priced competitors.

It was created as an alternative to doctors who lacked necessary medical equipment and had to listen to patient heartbeats by putting their ears to patients' chests.

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FDA to make more data publicly available by month’s end

August 18, 2015
The U.S. Federal Drug Administration plans to release information on its new openFDA platform as part of its program to make more information publicly available about food, drugs, and devices. With the goal being to make its information more accessible and useful to developers, the data will be released through a new application program interface (API) that developers and researchers can easily integrate for the public's benefit.

Through the program, the FDA is attempting to work more closely with the developer community and build on existing resources.

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CMS Chief to Address ICD-10 Implementation update On Aug 27

August 17, 2015
On August 27, Slavitt will provide a national implementation update as the nation reaches the five-week countdown to October 1. Also scheduled to speak are American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) Senior Director of Coding Policy and Compliance Sue Bowman and American Hospital Association (AHA) Director of Coding and Classification Nelly Leon-Chisen.

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Doctors are now cautious about their online feedback

August 17, 2015
75 percent of doctors check more than one online rating site. Nearly 12 percent of physicians said they check reviews at least once per week. Another 33 percent said they monitor reviews monthly, while 42 percent check a few times per year. Only 13 percent said they almost never monitor online feedback from patients.

Beyond just monitoring, physicians are also responding to patient feedback. One in three said they have written back in response to patient comments, according to the survey.

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ICD-10 Cheat Sheet: DIY for Physicians

August 14, 2015
For many physician specialties, a reasonable sized cheat sheet that contains the most common diagnosis codes used in your practice is quite doable. For many physicians, the number of ICD-10 codes compared to ICD-9 is pretty modest. Here is a quickie comparison to ICD-9 to ICD-10 by specialty.

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Improving Patient Safety Through The National Action Plan For Adverse Drug Event Prevention

August 14, 2015
Consider that ADEs account for over 3.5 million physician office visits and an estimated 1 million emergency department visits annually. Further, an estimated one in three of all adverse events while patients are in the hospital are the result of ADEs, affecting about 2 million hospital stays each year. Now consider that approximately two in three of ADEs that occur in hospitals are related to opioids, anticoagulants, or diabetes agents.

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Is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) winning over Americans?

August 14, 2015
More Americans approve of President Obama's Affordable Care Act than ever before. Just don't mistake that for citizens thinking it actually helps them.

Although the law is gaining acceptance five years after its passage, 55 percent of Americans now say the ACA has thus far not affected them or their family -- and that's the telling statistic Gallup used to conclude that many Americans still think it does more harm that good.

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More providers call on CMS to issue meaningful use rules

August 13, 2015
A second group of health care providers has written a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell asking her to quickly release the final rule on modifications to the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program for 2015-2017.

The group wrote that not releasing a final rule in the immediate future could create significant hardships for hospitals and physicians.

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Exchange audits discover lax controls

August 13, 2015
Internal controls for the HealthCare.gov exchange allowed possibly ineligible consumers to receive health coverage, according to a government report. The report, from the Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General, said internal controls could not determine if applicants were properly eligible for health insurance or subsidies.

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announces for use of ICD-10 codes from Oct 1, 2015

August 13, 2015
On April 1, 2014, Congress enacted the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA) (Pub. L. No. 113-93), which said that the Secretary may not adopt ICD-10 prior to October 1, 2015. Accordingly, on August 4, 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a final rule that requires the use of ICD-10 beginning October 1, 2015.
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Stage 3 Meaningful Use ‘Too Ambitious’ on Patient Action Goals

May 28, 2015
Various stakeholders have begun taking part in sending their public comments to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with regard to the Stage 3 Meaningful Use proposed rule and the proposed modifications to Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements for the next few years.
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Quality measures “making a difference

March 5, 2015
In a blog post announcing the release of the 2015 National Impact Assessment of Quality Measures Report, Patrick Conway, MD, chief medical officer at CMS, said the study is meant to offer comprehensive assessment of the quality measures used by the agency.

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Choosing a revenue cycle vendor? Gut instinct alone won”t do

March 5, 2015
After Mike Simms, vice president of revenue cycle for Greensboro, N.C.-based Cone Health, signed on with one RCM vendor, he quickly found himself wishing he"d followed his hunch the first time around. Simms will be at HIMSS15 in Chicago on April 12, speaking at the HIMSS Media Revenue Cycle Summit. He"ll offer tips on vetting potential vendors and strategies for realizing ROI from RCM tools.

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HIMSS HX360 event: Harness innovation to transform care delivery

March 5, 2015
Healthcare’s future is tied to technology – and that makes it critical for even executives in jobs that are not traditionally tech-savvy to play an integral role in planning for the future. That’s the view from the experts at HX360, a new initiative by Healthcare IT News parent HIMSS and consulting firm AVIA that hopes to open a dialogue about innovation to all manner of healthcare leaders.

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EHR cash paid off for adoption levels

February 23, 2015
The $28.1 billion carrot paid out to meaningful EHR adopters to date has spurred significant EHR adoption specifically among emergency and outpatient departments, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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AMA Announces Health IT Innovation Lab in Chicago

February 23, 2015
The American Medical Association (AMA) is the latest professional society to dig into technological discovery for the healthcare industry by creating the AMA Interaction Studio at MATTER, a Chicago-based health IT innovation incubator. The studio will allow physicians, developers, and entrepreneurs to collaborate on the development of new products and services in a simulated healthcare environment.

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What Is Driving Claims in Healthcare about EHR Usability?

February 16, 2015
Over the past several months, healthcare association and industry reports have highlighted the importance of EHR usability to the success of healthcare organizations and providers providing efficient, effective, and safe patient care. In 2014, the American Medical Association (AMA) released a new framework comprising a multitude of priorities for creating more intuitive (i.e., usable) EHR technology. Shortly thereafter, Frost & Sullivan published a report detailing how limited EHR usability was impacting healthcare CIOs and their organizations.

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ICD-10 Won’t Significantly Impact MS-DRGs for Two Years

February 16, 2015

It will be business as usual for MS-DRG assignment for at least another two years after the implementation of ICD-10, says an article published this month in the Journal of AHIMA, since new DRGs mapped to the increased specificity of the ICD-10 code set won’t be released until the industry has enough higher-level data to create them. While some necessary changes in the new system will produce minor differences in payments, the ICD-10 MS-DRGs are basically “a replication” of those currently in use under ICD-9, writes a team of researchers from 3M Health Information Systems, and will have little impact on the Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Groups used for inpatient reimbursement in the immediate future.

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How EHR Interoperability Impacts Future PCMH Success

February 16, 2015

Despite increasing levels of EHR adoption, a new report highlights the limitations of this technology as a result of a lack of EHR interoperability. The ability to overcome a lack of EHR interoperability through the use of complementary health IT tools will help determine the success of patient-centered medical homes, according to report published by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC).

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Don”t fear the HIPAA audit

February 16, 2015

The threat from hackers affects all business, but healthcare providers face the additional threat of fines for failure to comply with HIPAA regulations. These fines are no mere speeding ticket. Some entities have been hit with penalties exceeding $1 million. And fines can occur even without a loss of data. Failure to comply with HIPAA standards can be determined by an ONC audit even if no breach has occurred.

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Chronic care management of three ailments could save Medicare billions

February 11, 2015

A team of researchers followed approximately 296,000 Medicare patients with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or diabetes for a 12-month period spanning 2008 and 2009. Their objective was to measure costs differences associated with care continuity during episodes of care.

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Telemedicine helps veterans manage chronic conditions

January 27, 2015

Evaluations of the CCHT program, according to the researchers, showed improved health-related quality of life, which included 50 percent fewer hospitalizations, 11 percent fewer ER visits and hospital lengths of stay shortened by three days.

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Why ICD-10 and cybersecurity must go hand in hand

January 27, 2015

As the ICD-10 implementation date draws near, providers should not let cybersecurity fall to the wayside, according to industry expertsBecause providers have been busy with projects like electronic health record system implementations and ICD-10,

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FDA Won’t Scrutinize Low-Risk Wearables, mHealth Devices

January 23, 2015

Low-risk wearables, apps, and mHealth devices intended to support general wellness or healthy lifestyle choices will not be closely scrutinized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the agency says in newly released draft guidance. The guidance covers apps and devices that track user input, provide encouragement, or help to manage chronic diseases, sleep, diet, or other physical and mental health attributes without intending to treat or otherwise influence a patient’s safety and care.

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For clinicians, Google Glass isn”t dead

January 23, 2015

Despite the ignominious end of the Explorer program, the technology will still have "a big impact on healthcare." Google drew its Glass Explorer program to a close this past week, perhaps tacitly conceding that some of the criticisms of their much-hyped wearable computer – off-putting, invasive, and “far too dorky-looking for normal people to want to wear" – had some merit.

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Why a Full-Year Meaningful Use Reporting Period Worries CIOs

January 23, 2015

For those keeping pace with the requirements of Stage 2 Meaningful Use, the 2015 fiscal and calendar years bring with them a full-year meaningful use reporting period and concerns about meeting these demands on their healthcare organizations.

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6 healthcare leadership trends for 2015

January 22, 2015

As the healthcare industry changes, the executive suite must change with it and leaders must evolve into new, broader roles. Healthcare executive search consultants from Witt/Kieffer have offered up six trends that are shaping the C-suite this year.

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Doctors Not Meeting Consumer Patient Engagement Expectations

January 22, 2015

Many eligible providers view patient engagement requirements as a significant challenge in meeting Stage 2 Meaningful Use, but they run the risk of pushing away patients if they fail to meet consumer patient engagement expectations. This is one takeaway from a recent nationwide survey of more than 400 adults conducted by Technology Advice.

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The newest new thing: Obama”s precision medicine initiative

January 22, 2015
President Barack Obama used some of his State of the Union oratory to lay out a grand vision for “precision medicine” and announce an initiative to realize it. “I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine—one that delivers the right treatment at the right time,” he said.

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Doctors Not Meeting Consumer Patient Engagement Expectations

January 22, 2015
Many eligible providers view patient engagement requirements as a significant challenge in meeting Stage 2 Meaningful Use, but they run the risk of pushing away patients if they fail to meet consumer patient engagement expectations. This is one takeaway from a recent nationwide survey of more than 400 adults conducted by Technology Advice.

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The newest new thing: Obama”s precision medicine initiative

January 12, 2015
President Barack Obama used some of his State of the Union oratory to lay out a grand vision for “precision medicine” and announce an initiative to realize it. “I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine—one that delivers the right treatment at the right time,” he said.

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Is Physician Fear of ICD-10 Turning Them Off Preparation?

January 12, 2015
There are a lot of reasons for healthcare professionals to dislike the notion of ICD-10. More mandates, more money, more work, and more complications that do nothing but take highly-trained physicians away from the business of patient care have been repeatedly cited as reasons why the industry should just forget the new code set all together.

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States forge ahead with telehealth coverage

January 12, 2015
Licensed providers in one Mid-Atlantic state will now be able to reimburse for telemedicine services from private insurers, joining 21 other states that have made the move thus far.

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ICD-10 testing deadline extended

January 12, 2015
Providers have an extra bit of time to apply for ICD-10 end-to-end testing. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has pushed out the deadline to Jan. 21.

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Lots of docs will be skipping Stage 2 meaningful use

January 9, 2015
A new survey of physicians by Healthcare IT News" sister site finds that 55 percent of them won"t attest to Stage 2 meaningful use this year. It"s "almost impossible" says one specialist polled by Medical Practice Insider.

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The patient engagement mantra: Keep it simple

January 9, 2015
While the healthcare industry is still trying to get the whole "patient engagement" thing down, there"s one key consideration to take into account when designing a wearable or home-based health monitor.

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Expect more, bigger healthcare breaches

January 5, 2015
The potential cost of breaches for the healthcare industry could be as much as $5.6 billion annually, according to a new report from Experian, a global information services firm. The report is Experian"s second annual data breach forecast across industries.

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Outlook 2015: Health IT

January 5, 2015
Health IT developers and users in 2015 will need to crack the code on APIs, FHIR, DS4P, 42 CFR Part 2, ICD-10 and Stage 2 MU—shorthand for the key technology challenges looming in the year ahead.

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February Meaningful Use Attestation Deadline Looms for EPs

January 5, 2015 The next meaningful use attestation deadline for EPs is February 28, but additional penalties may not increase participation as anticipated. Refer the link to Read More »

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