Blog Archives

A plus in the operating room, EHRs can cause trouble for providers in the courtroom

Electronic health records have been touted as having – and have proven to have – many benefits for healthcare organizations in terms of cost savings and efficacy of medical treatment. They are not, however, unalloyedly beneficial in the courtroom. As

Posted in ARRA, HITECH Act Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Human-computer interactions: what happened during September’s Texas Ebola misdiagnosis?

A new report on what went wrong in the processing of the late Thomas Eric Duncan upon his first visit to the emergency room proposes that a combination of human and computer errors was responsible. A team of medical informaticists

Posted in ARRA, Higher Ed, HITECH Act, News, Privacy & Security Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Medical info now 10 times more valuable than financial data on the black market

Credit card numbers have dropped precipitously in value in recent years as PHI replaces it on the underground market. Why? Cyber criminals use the PHI to engage in medical fraud which, because of its complexity, may continue undetected for years.

Posted in ARRA, Higher Ed, HITECH Act, News, Privacy & Security Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Billions at risk as providers face Stage 2 hurdle

An impressive number of healthcare providers met Stage 1 requirements and qualified for EHR payments in 2011 and 2012 – some 170,000. Of these providers, who are therefore eligible to continue in the EHR incentive program, only about 4% appear

Posted in ARRA, Higher Ed, HITECH Act, News, Privacy & Security Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ONC’s EHR security provisions inadequate says OIG

Healthcare providers cannot attest to meaningful use unless they use certified EHR software. Providers purchasing certified EHR software tend to assume that a certified EHR has been rigorously tested and can be counted on to ensure protection of patient data.

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New report: EHRs not immune to technical, human error; rigorous monitoring essential

A report just published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association asserts that even if EHRs were not still relatively new, they are not exempt from the glitches all software can be prone to.  Researchers evaluated data from

Posted in ARRA, Higher Ed, HITECH Act, News, Privacy & Security Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stage 2-ready software delays prompt CMS to postpone Stage 2 deadline

While vendors were able to supply the software needed for healthcare providers to comply with Stage 1 of the EHR incentive program, they are experiencing delays in developing the software needed for Stage 2 meaningful use compliance.  In response to

Posted in ARRA, Higher Ed, HITECH Act, News, Privacy & Security Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Montana hospital one of first to sue vendor in court over non-compliant EHR system

Healthcare providers face many challenges in trying to keep up with ever more rigorous requirements for EHR software compliance.  EHR software vendors seem to be struggling, too, in many cases causing their clients to fail the federal EHR certification requirements, thereby

Posted in ARRA, Higher Ed, HITECH Act, News, Privacy & Security Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Advocate Health Care already facing first lawsuit for July 15 breach involving 4 million EHR patient records

Chicago area Advocate Health Care suffered the country’s biggest health care record breach to date on July 15 – when four unencrypted laptops containing over four million patient records were stolen.  Seven weeks later the legal repercussions to July’s event

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Health care digitization enriches software industry

The health IT industry’s pitch to Congress, and to the public, was that health care would be transformed through digitization, and that the shift to electronic records would result in huge health care savings.  Four years after the passage of ARRA

Posted in ARRA, Higher Ed, HITECH Act, News, Privacy & Security Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Family doctor EHR use up although use varies by location

The Annals of Family Medicine reports that although use of electronic health records has not increased significantly in all regions, it has risen dramatically nationwide in the last few years. Via Modern Healthcare: The number of family physicians who have

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HHS Inspector General: Medicare EHR incentive program lacks adequate safeguards against error and fraud

The HHS Inspector General this week reported the results of its recent investigation to “verify the accuracy of professionals’ and hospitals’ self-reported meaningful-use information, as well as eligibility and payment amounts.”   The investigation reviewed payments issued from May through December

Posted in ARRA, Higher Ed, HITECH Act, News Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

EHR access lost during Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy this week tested East Coast health care systems’ electronic infrastructure.  Emergency preparedness plans were implemented fairly successfully for most health care facilities, allowing them to continue to operate adequately.  Others, however, were negatively impacted, including some which lost access

Posted in ARRA, Higher Ed, HIPAA, HITECH Act, News Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Health education information incomprehensible to many; HHS program to rate EHR-linked education materials for “understandability”

Health education materials provided to health care consumers until now have commonly assumed a fairly high level of “health literacy” – a level which, research has shown, makes the materials inaccessible to about 77 million people.  HHS’ new program addressing

Posted in ARRA Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sharing EHR notes between providers and patients improves care, patient loyalty among other benefits

According to Annals of Internal Medicine, a new study found no disadvantages to health care providers sharing EHR notes with patients. Via Kaiser Health News: Doctors are required by federal law to provide patients with a copy of their medical

Posted in ARRA, HIPAA Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Laptop theft costs Massachusetts provider $1.5 million in HHS settlement

Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Associates (MEEI) will be paying HHS $1.5 million in installments over three years for a 2010 incident.  It is worth noting that OCR also reached a $1.5 million settlement with

Posted in ARRA, HIPAA Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tagging technique keeps more sensitive portions of an EHR more private

State and federal privacy laws rigorously restrict sharing of mental health and other highly sensitive patient records.  A technique called “data tagging” may be key in facilitating health care providers’ compliance with these requirements. Via Modern Healthcare: Using off-the-shelf content

Posted in ARRA, HIPAA Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

EHR hackers turn to extortion

Hackers recently struck a small medical practice in suburban Chicago, encrypted the facility’s digital medical records, and then demanded a ransom payment in exchange for allowing the facility to regain access to its records. Medical industry observers note that this

Posted in ARRA, HIPAA Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Majority of health care providers have entered electronic age

Over half of U.S. doctors now use electronic medical records, and half of the remainder plan to start in the coming year, a new poll has found. Via HealthDay: TUESDAY, July 17 (HealthDay News) — A majority of U.S. physicians

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Health care system mergers slow transition to electronic medical records

The mounting economic challenges and the uncertain regulatory environment ensure that the pace of mergers in the healthcare industry will continue to accelerate, at the same time as the industry is moving into the digital age.  Converting a single health

Posted in ARRA Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

U.S. healthcare providers hesitant about “offshoring” EHRs to India

Will American healthcare providers, like major companies in other sectors of the economy, outsource their electronic medical records systems and maintenance offshore, especially to an established tech industry in India? According to the Wall Street Journal, Indian technology vendors face a

Posted in ARRA, Higher Ed, HITECH Act, News, Privacy & Security Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

eWeek: Top 10 Reasons to avoid EHRs stored in a “cloud”

eWeek provides a great reminder of the dangers of signing up for an electronic health records system stored in a “cloud.”  Such ASP/SaaS EHR models are attractive to many practices because they offer consistent (though not always lower) monthly fees and require

Posted in ARRA, Higher Ed, HITECH Act, News, Privacy & Security Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NIST Publishes Approved Testing Procedures for EHRs

    Via NIST: In efforts to help the nation’s health care industry make the transition to the digital age in an effective and meaningful fashion, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has published a set of approved

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In the news: medical ID theft on the rise; CHIME comments on meaningful; and more

Javelin Strategy & Research survey found over 275,000 cases of medical identity theft in 2009, with an average price tag greater than $12,000 per incident.  This is twice as many cases as in 2008.  Keeping health information safe is going to

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Thursday: Free Webinar on “Meaningful Use”

On Thursday, February 25, 2010 from 1:00PM to 2:00PM (EST), Steve Fox and yours truly will host a free webinar, the first in a series, which will focus on the critical definition of “meaningful use” of “certified EHR technology,” as described

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In the news: EHR incentives; the rising threat of medical identity theft

In a letter to Dr. Blumenthal, the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) urged the ONC to define “meaningful use” in a practical and achievable way.  Otherwise, many providers could fail to qualify for the HITECH Act’s incentives.  The MGMA is recommending, inter alia, instituting a

Posted in ARRA Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Timely advice: Begin preparations for “meaningful use” now

Our collaborator and friend James Oakes, a Principal at Health Care Information Consultants, LLC in Baltimore, Md., authored a wise and timely call for action for healthcare providers hoping to capitalize on the incentive payments for meaningful use of certified EHR technology

Posted in ARRA Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

New York Times interviews David Blumenthal

David Pogue, a reporter for the New York Times, posted the transcript of his interview with Dr. David Blumenthal, National Coordinator for Health IT. Mr. Pogue interviewed Dr. Blumenthal for a CBS news report on digitization of healthcare in America

Posted in ARRA, Higher Ed, HITECH Act, News, Privacy & Security Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PWC Survey Findings May Support North Shore’s EMR Gamble

The New York Times reported last week that the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System (North Shore) will offer its 7,000 affiliated (though not employed by North Shore) physicians subsidies for implementing electronic health records.  Interestingly, this subsidy does not include

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Health IT Market Heats Up

The last few weeks saw a tremendous amount of activity in the health IT market.  Dell and Xerox were among the companies trying to capitalize on opportunities created by the ARRA incentives and certain market trends, including high demand for HIT

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