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HHS Secretary Sebelius Resigns; Obama Nominates Burwell

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 13:02

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who oversaw the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges and other health IT initiatives, will resign. Some health IT stakeholders praise her efforts promoting health IT, while others say her resignation will have little effect on the industry. Health Data Management et al.

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ECRI Institute Creates Stakeholder Collaboration for Health IT Safety

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 12:41

The ECRI Institute Patient Safety Organization has created a collaboration of health IT vendors, lawmakers, professional societies, providers and others to institute a framework to identity and address issues related to health IT safety, particularly surrounding electronic health records. Health Data Management, Clinical Innovation & Technology.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

DeSalvo Suggests Re-Working Health IT Policy Workgroups

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 12:36

National Coordinator for Health IT Karen DeSalvo has proposed a new structure for the Health IT Policy Committee’s workgroups, refocusing them around four topics related to health IT and meaningful use. The topics aim to support ONC’s current priorities, and a draft of DeSalvo’s plan is expected to be available for public comment in July. FierceHealthIT et al.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Doctors' billing system stays stuck in the '70s for now

Healthcare News - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 06:47

For doctors, hospitals and insurance companies, all the complexities of medicine get boiled down into a system of codes. These codes are used to track and pay for every procedure – like an 813.02 for mending a broken forearm, or an 800.09 for treating a concussion. But this coding system is now four decades old, and it doesn't meet the needs of the medical system today. It was scheduled to be upgraded this October, but Congress delayed it last week. JaeLynn Williams, for one, is seriously bummed out. "It's kind of like looking forward to Christmas, and it doesn't come," she says.

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ICD-10 delay makes healthcare leaders juggle

Healthcare News - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 06:42

Whether delighted or distressed by the delay in the implementation of the ICD-10 diagnosis codes, healthcare leaders have some juggling to do. Deadlines that were supposed to be carved in stone have turned to mud and washed away. After years of preparation, federal regulators were telling doctors, hospitals, and insurers to be ready for an Oct. 1 transition to a much more detailed standard for documenting their work. Now, that will not happen until at least Oct. 1, 2015, by legislative decree. The provision for the delay sailed through Congress and was signed last week by President Obama, because it was tucked into a politically unstoppable bill to prevent cutbacks in reimbursement to physicians.

Categories: Healthcare News

FL doctors could face drug database requirement for prescriptions

Healthcare News - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 06:37

A proposal backed by the House committee on Thursday would require physicians to access a state drug database before prescribing controlled substances to new patients. The proposal, added to an omnibus health-care bill (HB 7113) drew objections from the Florida Medical Association and other physicians' groups. The prescription-drug database is designed to prevent doctor shopping by drug abusers and traffickers. The requirement added to the bill Thursday would apply to patients' initial visits to doctors. In such circumstances, doctors would be required to use the database to check those patients' medication histories before prescribing controlled substances.

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Opinion: Will patients 'like' the doctor who tells them they're dying?

Healthcare News - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 06:31

Honesty may be the best policy, but when delivering bad news to patients, physicians must prepare to pay a price for that honesty. You simply do not like the doctor who tells you what you are afraid to hear. In this age of greater accountability in health care, the satisfaction of patients and the subtle nuance of likeability is connected directly to doctor payment. And patients who don't like what their doctor tells them won't "like" that doctor on the growing number of physician rating services springing up on the Internet. The complex task of adding unwelcome and difficult content to a conversation may impede physicians from having dialogues about the most sensitive issues.

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Healthcare workers wash hands more when patients are watching

Healthcare News - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 06:26

Healthcare workers are more likely to wash their hands if patients are asked to monitor them, according to a new study. It details an 11-month pilot project at the Family Practice Health Center at Women's College Hospital in Toronto. Patients were asked to observe and record the hand hygiene habits of their healthcare providers, who were aware that they were being watched. Nearly 97 percent of the healthcare workers washed their hands before direct contact with their patients, according to the study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.

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A doctor's 'people skills' affect patients' health

Healthcare News - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 06:12

A doctor's "bedside manner" seems to have a real effect on patients' health, a new research review suggests. The review, of 13 clinical trials, found that when doctors were given training to hone their people skills, patients typically fared better in their efforts to lose weight, lower their blood pressure or manage pain. Experts said the findings, reported online April 9 in the journal PLOS One, show that the doctor-patient relationship can have an impact on people's health.

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How the medical education system contributes to the doctor shortage

Healthcare News - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 06:08

It is a great time to become a physician in the U.S. There is a growing need for doctors of all kinds, so if you invest in medical school, chances are, you will find a job. By the end of this decade, it's projected that the country will be short 90,000 physicians. One reason: The medical education system we have today was actually originally designed to make it harder for students to become physicians. The system, created in the early 1900s, intentionally set out to cut down the number of doctors.

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Opinion: A 'code death' for dying patients

Healthcare News - Fri, 04/11/2014 - 06:00

Sadly, but with conviction, I recently removed breathing tubes from three patients in intensive care. As an I.C.U. doctor, I am trained to save lives. Yet the reality is that some of my patients are beyond saving. And while I can use the tricks of my trade to keep their bodies going, many will never return to a quality of life that they, or anyone else, would be willing to accept. I was trained to use highly sophisticated tools to rescue those even beyond the brink of death. But I was never trained how to unhook these tools. I never learned how to help my patients die.

Categories: Healthcare News

Asking Patients About Guns is a Loaded Question for Docs

Healthcare News - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 13:55

The American College of Physicians says gun-related violence is a public health problem that doctors should address with patients. But few physicians actually do.

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Contest Seeks Tool To Help Patients Navigate Medicare Pay Data

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 13:39

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has announced a contest for software developers to create tools to help consumers understand newly released Medicare physician payment data. Some physician groups have urged patients to be careful not to misinterpret the data. Health Data Management et al.

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Ore., Wash. Health Systems To Join EHR Open Access Initiative

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 13:34

Nine health systems and physician practices in Oregon and Washington state will begin offering one million patients access to the OpenNotes system, which provides patients with their electronic health record data. Experts say the initiative could enhance patient engagement and lead to a “national standard of care.” EHR Intelligence et al.

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Athenahealth: OIG’s Advisory Opinion Reversal ‘Disappointing’

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 13:22

Athenahealth has expressed disappointment in the HHS’ Office of Inspector General’s recent decision to reverse a 2011 advisory opinion on the fee structure for its health data exchange service. The company says it will alter its payment structure to comply with the notice. Health Data Management, Modern Healthcare.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

HIT Policy Committee Supports Best Practices for Proxy Data Access

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 13:22

The Health IT Policy Committee is encouraging the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to distribute best practices for patients’ proxies to view, download and transmit their health data under meaningful use Stage 2. Health Data Management, Clinical Innovation & Technology.

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Study: Mobile Messaging App Improves Care for Servicemembers

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 13:19

A new study finds that a mobile messaging application can improve treatment experiences and appointment attendance among military servicemembers who are sick or injured. For the study, providers used mCare, a mobile app, to send announcements, appointment reminders, secure messages and wellness tips to their patients. MobiHealthNews.

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CMS Makes Physician Claims Data Public

Healthcare News - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:15

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a potential treasure trove of 2012 Medicare physician claim information. The release, which makes the data public for the first time since 1979, is "a huge step to making the Medicare system more transparent," CMS says.

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AMA Urges Caution with Medicare Doctor Data

Healthcare News - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 07:01

The American Medical Association says the public should exercise caution when interpreting the 2012 Medicare payment data for physicians, saying "the manner in which CMS is broadly releasing physician claims data, without context, can lead to inaccuracies, misinterpretations and false conclusions."

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Federal data reveals some docs getting millions from Medicare

Healthcare News - Thu, 04/10/2014 - 06:57

Medicare paid a tiny group of doctors $3 million or more apiece in 2012. One got nearly $21 million. Those are among the findings of an Associated Press analysis of physician data released Wednesday by the Obama administration, part of a move to open the books on health care financing. Topping Medicare's list was Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, whose relationship with Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., made headlines last year after news broke that the lawmaker used the doctor's personal jet for trips to the Dominican Republic. Medicare paid Melgen $20.8 million.

Categories: Healthcare News