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Healthcare IT Trends to Watch, Week of 4/23 – 4/27, 2012

Each day at Schwartz MSL, the Healthcare IT Practice shares news items on the latest industry trends, news, insights and events. Here are the recent highlights from the past week:

When our nation’s health IT chief Farzad Mostashari speaks, it’s usually a good idea to listen. In this article by Diana Manos of Healthcare IT News titled, “Mostashari: ‘Keep our eyes on the prize,” he urged the audience at the National Quality Forum to put the patient at the center of care delivery. He emphasized that quality is the cornerstone of what needs to be done. Other issues included “use the  market,” “watch out for the little guy,” and “focus on what matters.”

Dan Bowman of FierceHealthIT reported on a new study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation on data use in both patient care and medical research. In the article, “Increased big data access could help lower health costs,” the authors say that all of the nonprofit organizations that study disease should collaborate to build a national health database. Future job-related health benefits packages could provide direction on how employees could contribute their own health information to such a database.

As they prepare to convert to the ICD-10 coding standard, nearly half of providers nationwide are planning to purchase an inpatient computer-assisted coding (CAC) solution within the next two years, according to a new report from KLAS, writes Bernie Monegain of Healthcare IT News, ICD-10 is the major motivator for these providers to look at a CAC solution, as they believe it can make up for some of the lost productivity and reimbursement that ICD-10 will create, researchers state in the report, ‘Computer-Assisted Coding: A Glimpse at the Future of HIM Technology.’

“While a majority of hospital CIOs responding to a recent survey conducted by say they are participating in regional health or system-to-system information exchange efforts, not all of the respondents have faith in such efforts,” wrote Dan Bowman of FierceHealthIT in his piece “Many hospital CIOs skeptical of HIE efforts.” Overall, 58 percent of the 174 respondents say their organizations are currently participating in regional or system-to-system HIE efforts. And 80 percent said integration with outside providers is a top three priority. About 21 percent say that while they are hopeful, they need to see more results before passing judgment.

Many hospital and health system administrators are expressing doubt about their ability to meet new EHR standards, according to survey results published by KPMG. In  Kathleen Roney’s Becker’s Hospital Review article, she reports that seventy-one percent of healthcare business leaders who participated in the KPMG survey said they were more than 50 percent of the way to completing EHR system adoption. However, 39 percent said they were only somewhat confident and 10 percent did not know their readiness level at all in meeting meaningful use Stage 2 requirements.”

We read in FierceEMR’s “AHRQ: EHR use should be increased,” that electronic health records should be adopted by more providers and by a wider range of provider types, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ’s) latest health care quality and disparity reports.

Don Fluckinger of Search Health IT wrote, “iPad EHR interoperability progressing as virtualization improves.” He said CIOs increasingly view iPad EHR implementations as a way to promote meaningful use compliance among physicians, who love the device. The increase in iPad EHR use also pushes some facilities closer to joining the BYOD (bring your own device) movement, which brings its own security and compliance challenges.

And here is some perspective straight from the doctors themselves. At the recent conference of the California Academy of Family Physicians, Robert Rowley, MD, had an opportunity to give a talk on various aspects of using health IT in clinical practice. He documented his thoughts in this piece titled, “What Are the Experiences of Family Physicians with Their EHRs?” which appeared in EHR Bloggers. One talk was on “High tech, high touch healthcare,” which focused on methods to avoid having the EHR get in the way of the interpersonal doctor-patient relationship. The other talk was on “Measuring patient engagement.” In the piece, he asked such questions as “Who chooses which EHR to use?” and ”Do physicians love their EHR, hate it, or are they somewhere in the middle?” I don’t think the results are surprising, but EHR vendors should heed their advice.


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Davida Dinerman

Davida Dinerman

Account Director at MSLGROUP

A member of MSLGROUP since 1996, Davida has been entrenched in the agency’s healthcare IT and tech practice groups. She earned her MBA from Babson College and her BA degree from Dartmouth College.

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