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Study: Discussing Patient Portals During Office Visits Can Boost Use

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:29

A recent study led by Virginia Commonwealth University researchers finds that individuals are more likely to use online patient portals if they are encouraged to do so during a visit to their primary care physician. In addition, the study finds that individuals ages 60 to 69 are most likely to use the technology. Health Data Management, Annals of Family Medicine.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

AMA Unveils Framework Outlining Priorities To Improve EHR Usability

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 12:26

In a framework released yesterday, the American Medical Association outlines several priorities for improving electronic health record usability. Among the recommended priorities are promoting care coordination and facilitating digital and mobile patient engagement. Modern Healthcare et al.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

HealthCare.gov’s Security Flaws Put Consumer Data at Risk, GAO Says

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 10:38

A report from the Government Accountability Office finds that HealthCare.gov has persistent security flaws that are putting consumers’ personal data at risk. The report provides recommendations for improving the site’s security, and CMS says it will work with GAO to address the issues. AP/Modern Healthcare et al.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Interstate Medical Licensure Effort Advances

Healthcare News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 06:52

At least 15 states are considering a revised draft of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which has the support of the AMA.

Categories: Healthcare News

EHR Systems 'Immature, Costly,' AMA Says

Healthcare News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 06:45

The president-elect of the American Medical Association says there is "a crying need" to make electronic health record systems "time-saving rather than efficiency-diminishing."

Categories: Healthcare News

Programs focus on high-risk patients to reduce spending

Healthcare News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 06:34

By the time Donnie Missouri met Rosaleita Fulford, the soft-spoken 44-year-old woman had funded a drug habit with prostitution and theft. "I was off the chain," she says. Fulford's T-cell count was low; she missed doctor's appointments to look for her next high. She got sick often, and when she did, she went to the emergency room instead of to an inexpensive clinic. It all came at the government's expense. Fulford represents the nation's "super-utilizers," the 1% of the population who account for 22% of health care spending, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In the states' Medicaid programs — which increased by at least 3 million people in 2014 because of the Affordable Care Act — 5% of users account for 54% of spending.

Categories: Healthcare News

Health IT early mover advantage examined

Healthcare News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 06:31

Although few healthcare organizations view first-adopter status as a business advantage, those that more quickly implement new technologies do reap valuable returns on these investments, a new study suggests. Consumer behavior and expectations are the primary factors driving healthcare market changes, according to 61% of respondents in "The Digital Dividend: First Mover Advantage," a study conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and sponsored by Verizon. Today's consumers expect their providers to use electronic health records; a year ago 41% of patients said they would be willing to switch doctors to get online access to their medical records, according to an Accenture study.

Categories: Healthcare News

Jameson Health System (PA) hopes to merge with UPMC by early 2015

Healthcare News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 06:26

Jameson Health System on Tuesday said it plans to merge into the UPMC network as soon as the beginning of next year. In a joint news release, the New Castle-based health system and UPMC announced board members have signed a nonbinding letter of intent, which they hope to finalize by the first quarter of 2015. Officials on Tuesday said the goal of the merger is to create a regional approach to health care by integrating the boards and strategies at Jameson in Lawrence County and UPMC Horizon in Mercer County.

Categories: Healthcare News

UnitedHealthcare drops AL doctors from its Medicare Advantage plans

Healthcare News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 06:22

Over the summer, Alzheimer's patient John "Pete" Barwick had a stroke, fell and hurt his hip. On top of this, wife and caretaker, Karen Barwick, was dealing with some unexpected bad news. Their insurance company, UnitedHealthCare, had dropped her husband's neurologist of five years from their Medicare Advantage plan. In fact, UnitedHealthCare had sent out letters to customers all over the state telling them their doctor had been dropped. The company won't disclose how many letters went out or how many doctors were cut. Medicare Advantage is insurance from a private company which contracts with Medicare to provide federally administered Medicare benefits, usually with some enhanced benefits for a price.

Categories: Healthcare News

Surprise hospital bills are common in TX, report finds

Healthcare News - Wed, 09/17/2014 - 06:16

About half of charges billed by doctors at an emergency room of a hospital in a network of one of Texas' three largest insurers are billed as out-of-network services because the doctor is contracted, the report found. For the state's second-biggest insurance company, UnitedHealthcare, more than two-thirds of ER charges at in-network hospitals are billed as out-of-network, according to the report. And nearly half of the hospitals technically in that network actually have no in-network ER doctors. "Even if you are a very sophisticated customer and try to choose hospital A over hospital B based on network, you can't control who sees you," said Stacey Pogue, the report's author. "It's a total roll of the dice."

Categories: Healthcare News

Health Care Groups Stump for More Meaningful Use Flexibility

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 13:02

Sixteen health care groups — including the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, the American Hospital Association and American Medical Association — are urging HHS to grant providers additional flexibility in fiscal year 2015 to meet requirements for Stage 2 of the meaningful use program. Clinical Innovation & Technology et al.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Report: Apply Google Principles to Mental Health App Development

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:47

A recent report recommends that policymakers employ Google’s 10 guiding principles when evaluating mobile mental health technology. In the report, researchers cite specific examples of how the principles relate to current mobile health applications. FierceMobileHealthcare et al.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Mobile Health Developers Push for More Clarity on HIPAA Regs

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 12:02

A group of mobile health application developers have sent a letter to Rep. Tom Marino pushing for more clarity around HIPAA regulations for mobile apps. The group says the lack of developer-friendly HIPAA resources has made it difficult to compete with large vendors. MobiHealthNews et al.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Surprise Interrupts TMA Event Honoring Science Teachers

Texas Medical Association - Hot Topics - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 10:16

A surprise interrupted TMA's 2014 TMA Ernest and Sarah Butler Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching ceremony this year.

Categories: Healthcare News

'Early Offer' Malpractice Programs May Spur Reform

Healthcare News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:56

Much of the activity in what one researcher calls "second-generation" malpractice reform is occurring not in state legislative chambers, but at the hospital level through a variety of medical injury dispute resolution programs.

Categories: Healthcare News

Narrow Networks Cut Costs, Not Quality, Economists Say

Healthcare News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:47

Research on Massachusetts government workers finds no evidence that narrow network enrollment is associated with a shift towards lower quality hospitals.

Categories: Healthcare News

Better HCAHPS Scores Protect Revenue

Healthcare News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:42

Providing an excellent patient experience is tied more closely than ever to reimbursements.

Categories: Healthcare News

Severe respiratory illness spreads to Northeast

Healthcare News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:25

The severe respiratory virus believed to have sickened hundreds of U.S. children in Midwestern and Western states has now spread to the Northeast, health officials report. The New York State Department of Health confirmed on Friday more than a dozen cases of infection with Enterovirus D68, which sometimes requires hospitalization, especially for children with asthma. And on Saturday, the Connecticut Department of Public Health said it had received reports from two hospitals in different parts of the state of clusters of severe respiratory illness among young children that could be due to Enterovirus D68.

Categories: Healthcare News

Six MS hospitals sued for patient data breach

Healthcare News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:23

Six plaintiffs are suing six Mississippi hospitals and their parent company, alleging the facilities did not properly secure sensitive patient information. The complaint, filed Sept. 11 in federal court in the Southern District of Mississippi, says the plaintiffs were patients at the hospitals, and are at increased risk of identity theft because identifying information was made available to "thieves and hackers." The hospitals listed as defendants are Central Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, River Region Medical Center in Vicksburg, Madison River Oaks Hospital in Canton, Crossgates River Oaks Hospital in Brandon, River Oaks Hospital in Flowood and Natchez Community Hospital.

Categories: Healthcare News

Some cancer experts see 'overdiagnosis,' question emphasis on early detection

Healthcare News - Tue, 09/16/2014 - 06:20

Early detection has long been seen as a powerful weapon in the battle against cancer. But some experts now see it as double-edged sword. While it's clear that early-stage cancers are more treatable than late-stage ones, some leading cancer experts say that zealous screening and advanced diagnostic tools are finding ever-smaller abnormalities in prostate, breast, thyroid and other tissues. Many are being labeled cancer or precancer and treated aggressively, even though they may never have caused harm. As a result, these experts say, many people may be undergoing surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and other treatments unnecessarily, sometimes with lifelong side effects. [Subscription Required]

Categories: Healthcare News