In the news

  • Kaiser Permanente and IBM inked a $500 million, seven-year IT services deal.  IBM will manage Kaiser's data center operations, storage and software, but IBM will not have access to patients' medical records.  AP, San Francisco Chronicle (March 17, 2009).
  • A new study expects that as much as three-quarters of prescribers will use e-prescribing by 2014 because of the incentives for adoption of e-prescribing technology included in the HITECH Act (though only about 15% of current prescribers use e-prescribing).  This could result in a massive $22 billion reduction in drug and medical costs.  Government Health IT (March 17, 2009).
  • Wal-Mart is bringing its "high-volume, low-cost" approach to the medical records industry.  Wal-Mart's Sam's Club division will produce a package that will include hardware from Dell, software from eClinicalWorks, as well as installation, maintenance and training services.  According to the New York Times (March 11, 2009), the "Sam’s Club offering, to be made available this spring, will be under $25,000 for the first physician in a practice, and about $10,000 for each additional doctor. After the installation and training, continuing annual costs for maintenance and support will be $4,000 to $6,500 a year, the company estimates." This development has huge implications for the EHR market, and may actually aid the widespread adoption of EHR technology.   Healthcare IT News (March 11, 2009) also covered this story.

More news after the jump.

  • Health Information Security and Privacy Collaboration (HISPC) is working on an engine to help healthcare providers navigate through the complex labyrinth of interstate transfers of health information.  Government Health IT (March 5, 2009).
  • President & CEO of HIMSS Analytics, Dave Garetz, predicts a huge rush in 2009 to adopt HIT in order to qualify for government incentives as meaningful EHR users.  There will likely be a significant shortage of competent HIT personnel and "change management experts" to help in this gigantic transition effort, which further underscores this Blog's urgent plea to begin planning for EHR adoption now.  Healthcare IT News (March 4, 2009).
  • Not everything is coming up roses:  Scott Haig of Time has a thoughtful article outlining some of the major challenges for nationwide adoption of EHR technology.  Time (March 5, 2009).
  • Universities are (and have been for years) the leading sector for publicized data breaches.  A new report examines the reasons.  ComputerWorld (March 9, 2009).  (The author of the article, Jay Cline, was only able 20 chief privacy officers at major U.S. universities, which is a clear sign that the academia - as institutions subject to numerous data privacy laws, including HIPAA, GLBA and FERPA - should be much more proactive and serious about data privacy protection.)
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