Monday, April 21, 2014

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 21st April, 2014.

Here are a few I have come across the last week or so.
Note: Each link is followed by a title and a few paragraphs. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or subscription payment.

General Comment

I thought there was enough bits of news around to make this useful.

eHealth scheme considered for cuts

Joanna Heath
The Abbott government is considering ­publishing a review into the previous government’s eHealth scheme before the budget, prompting speculation the $1 billion program is in line for cuts.
Health Minister Peter Dutton has previously signalled his opposition to the scheme, which allows patients to opt-in to a personal electronic record of their medical history, calling the rollout under Labor a “scandal”.
The government was handed the results of the review in January this year, with its authors left in the dark about a release date. Freedom of information requests to obtain the report have been refused.
“We thought it was going to be mid-January, then mid-February, then April,” said panel member and Australian Medical Association ­president Steve Hambleton.
“eHealth is really on hold at the moment in Australia . . . everything is waiting on clarification as to the direction.”

National eHealth Record

Date: Friday 9th May 2014
Location: Maroochydore Library, Cotton Tree
How will it affect you?
Join the team from Sunshine Coast Medicare Local as they provide a free information session on the National eHealth record. Learn how registering gives you the ability to share your vital health information.
Find out everything you need to know about the eHealth record including:
• privacy
• security
• access
• content
• how it can benefit yourself and your family.

Skin in the Game

Australia’s Health Ministers (including Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton) all expressed strong support for the PCEHR last week during the Standing Council on Health (SCoH) meeting in Brisbane chaired by NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research Jillian Skinner.
“A commitment to the PCEHR came through very strongly from the Federal Minister,” Minister Skinner told eHealthspace this week.
“Everyone knows there is a review going on - that is publicly known, but that doesn’t mean that there’s any lack of commitment to eHealth records from the Federal Minister,” she said.
“He said - and we agreed - that it was important to work together on an ongoing commitment.”

GPs slam new triage referral system

15 April, 2014 Paul Smith
GPs have savaged a referral system rolled out across WA, claiming patients are being referred to hospitals 100km or more away from where they live.
The Central Referral Service system was launched two months ago to cut the waiting lists plaguing the state's outpatient services.
It means GPs fill out a five-page application form, either online or on paper, which is then sent to a nurse triage unit that decides what hospital and service will treat a patient.
AMA WA president Dr Richard Choong (pictured), who practises in the city of Rockingham, said: "One of our patients was referred to a hospital. It was 110km away.
"It was a mystery why they decided to send the patient there.

Digital dawn of a brave new medical world

PUBLISHED: 16 Apr 2014    Mark Eggleton
The healthcare sector is ripe for digital disruption globally, according to the global CEO of GE Healthcare, John Dineen.
Speaking to The Australian Financial Review, Dineen said the sector faces a tremendous increase in demand as populations are getting older and sicker with chronic diseases that are very complicated.
“A bow wave of demand (in developed economies) is heading towards us and governments don’t have a lot of money to throw at the problem, so the big question is, how do we finance and fund our healthcare systems which are already strained?” Dineen says.
He says healthcare systems around the world have always looked for clinical quality but now they need productivity and they need it fast.
“We have to ask for more from our healthcare system as the basics of health have changed and this change has only really come about in the last three to five years. We’re getting different demand signals from health providers and technology providers and that is: help us get more productive; help us get better access, higher quality, lower cost all at the same time – and that requires different behaviour.”

Wikipedia hits help track flu spread

Date April 18, 2014 - 8:04PM

Dan Harrison

Health and Indigenous Affairs Correspondent

The number of hits recorded on Wikipedia articles could track the spread of flu and other illnesses faster than existing systems, research says.
Researchers in the United States have developed a highly accurate computer model for estimating levels of flu-like illness in the American population by analysing internet traffic on flu-related Wikipedia articles.
The research, published in PLOS Computational Biology on Friday, found the Wikipedia-based model estimated flu levels up to two weeks sooner than data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention became available. The Wikipedia-based model was also more accurate at estimating the timing of peak flu activity than Google Flu Trends, a service developed by the internet search giant that draws on Google search queries.

Plug pulled on schools' disastrous Ultranet computer system

Date April 20, 2014

Farrah Tomazin

The Sunday Age's state political editor.

After $180 million in taxpayer funds and years of political angst, the most bungled computer system to hit Victorian schools has finally been switched off.
The state government has confirmed the IT experiment known as the Ultranet has officially ceased, ending one of the most controversial projects ever rolled out in public education.
The software was intended to transform the way students learn by providing parents with information about their child's lesson plans, giving teachers a place to collaborate and share their curriculum, and allowing students to set personal goals and get feedback online.

Keep up to date on liver diseases

8th Apr 2014
THE iLiver app is useful for doctors to have at their fingertips, especially for those with a special interest in the liver.
iLiver was developed by the European Association for the Study of the Liver to provide updated information about liver disease. The app contains practical and relevant information concerning 22 liver conditions, ranging from acute liver failure to gallstones, the hepatitides, portal hypertension and Wilson’s disease.

Digitise your records or perish

Date April 18, 2014 - 10:46AM

Drew Turney

Digitising records isn't a new area of business, but changes to privacy, the need for improved reporting and saving time and money are making it more important than ever that you get it right.
Take the government's eHealth initiative. Costing $1 billion since 2011, the program aims to centralise information about patients' medical history, making it available to providers to help with diagnoses. Though it's been reported eHealth has had mixed results, the impetus behind the program is that sharing information with other medical providers will save lives.
But it's about more than collecting customer profiles. If a 20-year-old signs up for a life insurance policy and the company is subsequently acquired or sold throughout the policyholder's life, figuring out which new company's product disclosure statement they signed can be a huge and potentially expensive challenge.

#FHIR FAQs and Knowledge Base articles

Posted on April 15, 2014 by Grahame Grieve
HL7 has published a set of FAQs and knowledge base articles about FHIR, that cover questions about the following aspects of the FHIR specification:
  • Scope and Relationships
  • Specification
  • Architecture
  • Tooling and Support
  • Resource Design
  • Implementation Approach
  • Codes and Terminology
  • Implementation Details
  • Domain Questions
  • Security
We bring together people who save lives and improve health outcomes. We are at the intersection of healthcare and technology. Come join us!
  • Be part of a close knit, growing and diversified community
  • 4-5 days per week with flexible hours (for the right candidate)
  • An achievement-focused, accomplishment-driven, innovative culture
  • Excellent career prospects - show initiative, deliver results and you will be given wings to fly
  • Parkville Precinct, North Melbourne location (or Sydney based for the right candidate)
  • Proposed start date: May 2014

Human microchipping: I've got you under my skin

Date April 16, 2014

Iain Gillespie

Thousands of technology enthusiasts use it as the ultimate app, enabling them to lock and unlock their homes, cars, computers and mobile phones with a simple wave of a hand. But there's a catch: they must have a microchip inserted into their bodies.
The idea may seem weird, and painful, but human microchipping appears to appeal not only to amateurs, who call themselves biohackers, but also to governments, police forces, medical authorities and security companies.
It involves using a hypodermic needle to inject an RFID (radio-frequency identification) microchip, the size of a grain of rice, usually into the person's hand or wrist. The same kind of chip is used for tracking lost pets.

Heart Attack!

By Steve Wilson for
For the second time in as many months, a grave bug has emerged in core Internet security software. In February it was the "Goto Fail" bug in Apple devices that left web site security inoperable; now we have "Heartbleed", a flaw that leaves many secure web servers in fact open to attackers sniffing out passwords and keys.
"Heartbleed" is a flaw in an obscure low level feature of the "Transport Layer Security" (TLS) protocol. TLS has an optional feature dubbed "Heartbeat" which lets a computer connected in a secure session periodically test if the other computer is still alive. Heartbeat involves sending a request message with some dummy payload, and getting back a response with duplicate payload. The bug means the responding computer can be tricked into sending back a bigger dump of 64 kiloytes of memory. (For the technically minded, this error is qualitatively similar to a buffer overload; see also the OpenSSL Project description of the bug). A random grab of security data has a good chance of including passwords, credit card numbers and even TLS session keys. The bug is confined to the OpenSSL security library, where it was introduced inadvertently as part of some TLS improvements in late 2011.

NBN Co seeks ‘early resolution’ of TPG fibre threat

If Telstra decided to compete with NBN Co infrastructure, there would be ‘significant implications’
The company in charge of rolling out and operating the National Broadband Network has called for a speedy resolution to the issue of infrastructure-based competition. NBN Co raised the spectre of cascading consequences from a decision to allow infrastructure-based competition in a submission to the Vertigan panel.
The NBN Panel of Experts — also known as the Vertigan panel after its chair, Michael Vertigan — has been charged by the government with conducting a cost-benefit analysis of the NBN and a review regulation relating to the network and its rollout.
NBN Co has provided the panel with a supplementary submission that responds to issues raised by other parties in their responses to the Regulatory Framing Paper. The panel released Regulatory Framing Paper in February.

Five Windows 8.1 features that mouse users will love

  • Nathan Olivarez-Giles
  • The Wall Street Journal
  • April 17, 2014 12:00AM
THE Windows 8.1 update is here, and for those who use a mouse and keyboard instead of a touch screen, it’s a vast improvement. Microsoft has tweaked its touch-centric operating system to be more click-friendly for those on laptop and desktop PCs. Many of the features are a nod to the past (such as being able to boot directly to the desktop), mirroring what Windows users are used to on Windows XP (rest in peace) and Windows 7.
If you have a Windows 8 or 8.1 computer, and want the update, you can either wait for it to automatically download and prompt you, or you can go into settings, click “update and recovery”, then select “Windows update”. That will get the process started, if it hasn’t started already. Now, here are five changes you need to know about.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

You Would Have To Say Government Seems Pretty Awful At Doing Technology. Victoria Seems To Lead The Way!

This appeared today.

Plug pulled on schools' disastrous Ultranet computer system

Date April 20, 2014

Farrah Tomazin

The Sunday Age's state political editor.

After $180 million in taxpayer funds and years of political angst, the most bungled computer system to hit Victorian schools has finally been switched off.
The state government has confirmed the IT experiment known as the Ultranet has officially ceased, ending one of the most controversial projects ever rolled out in public education.
The software was intended to transform the way students learn by providing parents with information about their child's lesson plans, giving teachers a place to collaborate and share their curriculum, and allowing students to set personal goals and get feedback online.
Instead, it was plagued with tender problems, blew out by three times its original budget, and ultimately proved so clunky only 4 per cent of the intended 1.5 million teachers, parents and students decided to use it.
It is not the only technology disaster to cost Victorian taxpayers millions of dollars over the years. The myki ticketing system was more than three years late and $350 million over budget. The HealthSMART program, which was meant to ''revolutionise'' the way hospitals dealt with patients, and the LINK police database were also plagued with problems and cost blowouts of $140 million and $100 million respectively.
And in the education portfolio yet again, a student administration program for TAFEs to keep records of their enrolments and finances came under the spotlight last year after blowing out from $66.9 million to almost $100 million within four years.
Full article here:
What a fantastic collection of failures! Some one really needs to tell them to stop trying the way they presently are!
I wonder will we see the PCEHR as a national example in a year or two’s time. These sort of projects seem to be very hard to bale (or is it bail) out of!
See here:
Happy Easter.

AusHealthIT Poll Number 214 – Results – 20th April, 2014.

Here are the results of the poll.

Should GP Management Software Default To Cheaper Generic Drug Selections To Help Reduce The National Health Budget?

For Sure 39% (22)

Probably 16% (9)

Neutral 23% (13)

Probably Not 9% (5)

No Way 13% (7)

I Have No Idea 0% (0)

Total votes: 56

A small majority seem to be for the solution with only 22% actually against the idea.

Again, many thanks to all those that voted!


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 19th April, 2014.

Note: Each link is followed by a title and few paragraphs. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or subscription payment.

Eight (No, Nine!) Problems With Big Data

BIG data is suddenly everywhere. Everyone seems to be collecting it, analyzing it, making money from it and celebrating (or fearing) its powers. Whether we’re talking about analyzing zillions of Google search queries to predict flu outbreaks, or zillions of phone records to detect signs of terrorist activity, or zillions of airline stats to find the best time to buy plane tickets, big data is on the case. By combining the power of modern computing with the plentiful data of the digital era, it promises to solve virtually any problem — crime, public health, the evolution of grammar, the perils of dating — just by crunching the numbers.
Or so its champions allege. “In the next two decades,” the journalist Patrick Tucker writes in the latest big data manifesto, “The Naked Future,” “we will be able to predict huge areas of the future with far greater accuracy than ever before in human history, including events long thought to be beyond the realm of human inference.” Statistical correlations have never sounded so good.

5 ways Google Glass will innovate healthcare

April 11, 2014 | By Ashley Gold
Google Glass--no longer just a hopeful idea or cool trend--is slowly but surely disrupting healthcare for the better as various innovators come up with creative ways to use the technology and get results.
Most notably, as reported earlier this week, in the latest post to his Life As a Healthcare CIO blog, John Halamka, CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a FierceHealthIT Advisory Board member, discusses how Google Glass improves the lives of patients at BIDMC.

Heartbleed: What is the impact on health IT?

April 11, 2014 | By Dan Bowman
When it comes to maintaining the safety of health information technology and patient data, encryption is almost always one of the first recommendations made by security experts. That's why news this week about the "Heartbleed"computer bug--which compromised Web encryption program OpenSSL, opening "hundreds of thousands of websites to data theft," according to Reuters--is so disturbing for the industry.
Even health entities that don't rely on the version of OpenSSL compromised by the bug should be worried about the ramifications, according to Boston-based health attorney and FierceHealthIT Editorial Advisory Board member David Harlow.

Doctors Going Mobile, But Still Skeptical of Connected Health

Gregory T. Huang 4/8/14
At least two-thirds of American doctors surveyed use mobile-health apps on the job. But about two-thirds also think a truly connected healthcare system in the U.S. is more than five years away—or won’t happen at all.
That’s according to a new report by MedData Group, a healthcare marketing firm based in Topsfield, MA. The report surveyed 532 doctors around the U.S., across specialties and practice sizes, between December and March.
As health IT booms with startups, investors, and tech giants getting into the game, the MedData findings provide a snapshot of which mobile technologies physicians are using—and what they want to be using.

Fast, easy tech matters to physicians

Posted on Apr 10, 2014
By Carl Shulman, MD
For physicians on the combat field, making technology easy to use is nothing short of critical. I am the director of the William Lehman Injury Research Center, where we developed MobileCare, a web-based software that integrates documentation, education and telemedicine. MobileCare was originally designed for Army physicians in the field. We are now applying these lessons to the civilian healthcare sector.
One of the most important things we had to take under consideration when creating MobileCare, which was developed in partnership with the Department of Defense, was the actual design of the app and the related user experience. The biggest lesson I’ve learned as a result of this experience is this: If a certain technology or app is not something physicians like, actually want to use and feel like they can easily integrate into their workflow, they simply won’t use it.

DeSalvo charts new course for ONC

Posted on Apr 10, 2014
By Diana Manos, Senior Editor
Karen DeSalvo, MD, the national coordinator for health information technology has proposed that ONC become “more forward-thinking.”
At a Health Information Policy Committee on Tuesday, of which she is the chair, she urged the committee to consider what needs to change.
DeSalvo suggested the ONC dissolve its current workgroups and form new ones, in an effort to make ONC’s work into a “less siloed approach.” She envisions consumer and privacy advocates participating across all the groups. The proposed workgroups are:
  • HIT strategic planning
  • Advanced health models and meaningful use
  • HIT implementation, usability and safety
  • Interoperability and health information exchange

Lorenzo 'winning business on merit'

10 April 2014   Lis Evenstad
Lorenzo is “probably more perfect” than other patient administration systems in the UK market, CSC’s UK healthcare lead, Philippe Houssiau, has said.
Speaking to EHI about managing three successful go-lives of the electronic patient record system in a couple of months, Houssiau said that Lorenzo has been “lifted out of the box”, and the company is now “deploying the system on the merit of the system itself.”
“To me, Lorenzo is one of the most robust and homegrown PASs in the UK market. It is by no means perfect, but it’s probably more perfect than other systems that are around,” said Houssiau.

Millions of dollars spent on big data, but where are the results?

April 10, 2014 | By Ashley Gold
Many organizations--including those in the healthcare industry--have invested millions of dollars in big data analytics over the past few years. But where are the results?
A recent post in Harvard Business Review details some CIOs' frustrations with what they thought would be more impactful returns from big data analytics. The author, Michael Schrage--a research fellow at MIT--argues that a "data heuristic" has emerged--companies with mediocre outcomes use big data for decision support, while companies that have successful return on analytics (ROA) use it for effecting and supporting behavior change. 

Cost remains a barrier to e-prescribing, despite benefits

April 10, 2014 | By Susan D. Hall
While e-prescribing has the potential to increase patient safety and medication adherence while save money, implementation costs remain one of the biggest barriers to adoption in ambulatory practices, according to research published at Perspectives in Health Information Management.
Sending prescriptions electronically to pharmacists has the potential to save the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $27 billion a year, the article points out. It potentially can help prevent more than two million adverse drug events a year, 130,000 of them life-threatening.

Innovation showcase brings 'wow' factor

Posted on Apr 09, 2014
By Erin McCann, Associate Editor
Boston has long proven itself a mecca for healthcare innovation, a hub of some of the best minds and most prestigious hospitals in the nation. And the 2014 Boston Children's Hospital Innovators' Showcase proved no exception.
Featuring some 35 innovations developed by engineers, researchers and clinicians at Boston Children's, the exhibit boasted an array of cutting-edge technologies and problem-solving platforms. Amid the bustling showcase floor were, among others, robotic implants, phototargeted nanoparticles, drug delivery devices and clinical IT platforms that could signify big things for patient care. 
One of them, the Integrated Clinical Information Sharing System, or ICISS, is all about bridging the communication gap between provider and patient, and bringing healthcare connectivity out of the Dark Ages. And, from what developers have seen anecdotally, it's already beginning to do so. 

IOM: Put social, behavioral data in EHRs

April 9, 2014 | By Susan D. Hall
Social and behavioral health information should be included in electronic health records to give care providers the most complete patient data about the patient, the Institute of Medicine says in a new report.
A 13-member committee compiled a proposed list of 17 social and behavioral "domains" to be included as a guide for federal officials developing criteria for Meaningful Use Stage 3, reports Family Practice News.
The domains include sociodemographic, psychological and behavioral factors as well as information about a patient's relationships, neighborhoods and communities.

Google Glass to Assist Parkinson's Patients

Google Glass is being trialled in an effort to find new ways in which the smartglasses can be used to support people with long-term conditions such as Parkinson's disease and dementia.
Researchers at Newcastle University have been working with Parkinson's patients to investigate ways the wearable technology can be used as an assistive aid for people suffering from the condition.
Currently only available to developers and Glass Explorers, five pairs of the smartglasses were donated by Google to the university to assist in the research.

Beth Israel Deaconess Deploying Google Glass in ED

APR 9, 2014
Google Glass technology developed by San Francisco- and New York-based startup Wearable Intelligence (WI) has been deployed in the emergency department at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston after a successful pilot.
In an April 9 entry in his "Life As A Healthcare CIO" blog, BIDMC CIO John Halamka, M.D., wrote the hospital had been piloting the technology for four months.
"After several months of testing, we have deployed the product to clinical providers in the ED and are completing the first IRB approved study (to our knowledge) of the technology’s impact on clinical medicine," Halamka wrote.

Study: Using Laptops or Tablets Saves Physicians an Hour a Day

Written by Ayla Ellison (Twitter | Google+)  | April 08, 2014
Researchers from Birmingham Women's Hospital in the United Kingdom have found swapping traditional methods of filling out forms on paper for tablets or laptops saves physicians an hour a day during rounds.
The researchers found physicians spend approximately 56 percent of ward round time filling out paperwork, but this could be reduced to 41 percent if physicians made use of technology.

OpenNotes Expands Regional EHR Adoption

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , April 8, 2014

Kaiser Permanente Northwest is one of several healthcare providers participating in an effort to roll out open access to clinician notes as a standard of care throughout the Pacific Northwest.

A consortium of nine healthcare provider systems is targeting more than one million residents of Oregon and southwest Washington State in 2014 to provide open access to their physicians' notes in electronic medical records.
The announcement this week marks the first time that OpenNotes, a national movement that urges health-related organizations to adopt open access to clinician notes as a standard of care, has been embraced simultaneously throughout an entire region.  

But Seriously Now, Why Do Doctors Still Make You Fill Out Forms on Clipboards?

"Meditative practices emphasize returning to one’s breath. The clinical equivalent of this is to return to one’s patient. "
James Fallows  Apr 8 2014, 12:34 PM ET
We'll get back to St. Marys, Georgia, later today. For now, let's dip back into the mailbag for the latest array of views -- most from doctors or other medical professionals, some from technologists, some from "ordinary" patients -- on the pluses and minuses of the shift to electronic medical records. For background: my original Q&A with Dr. David Blumenthal, who directed the electronic-records program at the start of the Obama administration. That article also has links to four previous rounds of discussion -- and, why not, here they are again. One, two, three, and four. Now, eight more ways of looking at electronic medical records.

How Not To Do Big Data

APR 7, 2014 9:37am ET
I got a letter from my health insurer last week. It looked like junk to me at first, but my wife opened it up and left it at my place on the dining room table, so I eventually got around to reading it.
According to my health plan, I would benefit from taking part in their disease management program. They have nurses who serve as personal "health coaches," who could help me to "reach my best health," or "understand treatment plans or medications from my doctor," and "discuss the online resources available for me to live a healthier life."
There's just one problem with their thoughtful offer: I don't have a disease. I didn't even catch a cold this winter.

Feds release FDASIA workgroup report on health IT governance

By Diana Manos, Senior Editor and Eric Wicklund, Contributing Editor
A widely anticipated report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other agencies may finally clear the air on how healthcare IT – and mHealth in particular – will be regulated.
The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the Federal Communications Commission joined the FDA in drafting the report, which was mandated under the Food and Drug Administration Safety Innovation Act (FDASIA) of 2012. The report now goes on to Congress.
Dan Haley, vice president of government and regulatory affairs and assistant general counsel at athenahealth, said he sees “a lot of good language,” in the report. That language was taken from an industry collaboration of 100 or more experts, including athenahealth, led by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC). 

Google Glass gets wearable neuro app

Posted on Apr 08, 2014
By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
In a development that could help providers with remote patient monitoring and other telehealth applications, one developer has created a neuroimaging app designed to work with Google Glass.
Created by Personal Neuro Devices, a Canadian application developer staffed with neuroscientists and biochemical engineers, the technology, called Introspect: the PND Wearable, is designed to enable Google Glass to give neuro-feedback to clinicians and caregivers.
The head-mounted, voice-activated tool could help passively monitor brain activity, relaying data to physicians to help diagnose and treat conditions such as depression, say PND officials.

Plans for £230m GP IT spend released

3 April 2014   Rebecca Todd
NHS England has released its plans for how more than £230m in GP IT funding will be spent over the next year to ensure all practices across England have high-quality IT systems.
An updated operating model for 2014-16, ‘Securing Excellence in GP IT Services,’ aims to "improve the quality of GP care by enhancing patients’ experience of services, supporting and encouraging greater integration of care and providing efficiency benefits for practices by reducing paperwork, freeing up more time for patient care", a statement from NHS England says.
The new document confirms what EHI exclusively revealed last month; that GP IT funding will now be paid to clinical commissioning groups on a per-head-of-population basis, with some funding kept back to form a 'transitional fund' to which CCGs can apply if they need it.

What's keeping telemedicine from reaching its potential?

April 8, 2014 | By Ashley Gold
Payment procedures must be figured out and more doctors and hospitals must be persuaded to offer telemedicine before telemedicine's potential can truly be met, Robin Farmanfarmaian, a founder of Silicon Valley's technology and humanities-focused Singularity University, writes in a recent MedGadget post.
Some of the benefits of telemedicine technology, according to Farmanfarmaian, include:
  • Cost reductions: When patients stay home, healthcare facilities and patients save money and doctors and hospitals can process more patients overall, Farmanfarmaian says.
  • Greater patient engagement: Adds Farmanfarmaian, "Going to the doctor" is less of a drag with telemedicine--no taking time off work or traveling. Consultations are easier, so compliance will increase.
  • Reduction in diseases transmission: Waiting rooms and hospitals are "hotbeds" for germs and viruses and hospital-acquired infections like sepsis, Farmanfarmaian says.

Quest for a Unique Patient Identifier Stalled

by Bonnie Darves, iHealthBeat Contributing Reporter Tuesday, April 8, 2014
It's been almost 17 years since HHS, in a report, issued this bold statement:
"The need for unique patient identifiers has become urgent and critical. The widespread implementation of information technology and the emergence of computer-based patient records have paved the way for its potential success." (November 24, 1997)
The short, now old story is this: The original HIPAA legislation called for a unique patient identifier. Congress, citing privacy concerns, prohibited HHS from spending any money on developing standards and each annual appropriations bill since has continued the prohibition. 
The urgency, however, now has renewed impetus with the proliferation of health information exchanges, as cross-organizational patient-data sharing increases the patient mismatch potential.

Colleagues In Cuffs: When Employees Steal Patient Records

4/7/2014 09:06 AM
The Queens County DA recently arrested two Jamaica Hospital employees for stealing patient data, a lucrative crime occurring at hospitals across the nation.
The Queens, N.Y., district attorney recently charged two employees of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center with illegally accessing emergency room patients' medical records and personal identification information, and selling that data to individuals who then solicited services such as outpatient care or legal assistance -- sometimes while patients were still in the ER.
“These defendants are accused of blatantly violating their HIPAA obligations and illegally trolling through confidential patient records. Their alleged actions led to patients who were seeking treatment for injuries unwittingly being victimized again with the illegal release of their personal information and medical records," said DA Richard Brown, in a statement.

CMS Silence on ICD-10 Holds Healthcare Hostage

Scott Mace, for HealthLeaders Media , April 8, 2014

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner firmly vowed only weeks ago that there would be no ICD-10 delay. Now that an undefined delay has been announced, she remains silent on ICD-10's next steps.

The hives-inducing Washington-DC-based drama, ICD-10 Held Hostage has entered its second week.
This first week has been good news for a variety of FUDbusters and others hawking products meant to cut through the fear, uncertainty and doubt following the stealthy legislative blitz that delayed CMS's requirement for providers to use ICD-10 starting October 1.

FDA Opens Public Comment Period for New HIT Strategy

APR 6, 2014
The public will get a chance to comment on a proposed risk-based regulatory framework for health information technology developed by the Food and Drug Administration in coordination with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and Federal Communications Commission. 
In an April 7 Federal Register notice, the FDA announced the availability of the draft report and website location where it can be downloaded as well as a docket where stakeholders may provide comments. The public has until July 7 to submit comments either electronically or in writing.
"FDA, ONC, and FCC invite interested persons to submit comments on this report," states Bakul Patel, senior policy advisor for the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, in the notice. "We have established a docket where comments may be submitted. We believe this docket is an important tool for receiving feedback on this report from interested parties and for sharing this information with the public."

FDA goes for 'light touch' on health IT

Posted on Apr 04, 2014
By Eric Wicklund, Editor, mHealthNews and Diana Manos, Senior Editor
A widely anticipated report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other agencies may finally clear the air on how healthcare IT – and mHealth in particular – will be regulated.
The Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT and the Federal Communications Commission joined the FDA in drafting the report, which was mandated under the Food and Drug Administration Safety Innovation Act of 2012, often referred to as FDASIA. The report now goes on to Congress.
Dan Haley, vice president of government and regulatory affairs and assistant general counsel at athenahealth, said he sees “a lot of good language,” in the report. That language was taken from an industry collaboration of 100 or more experts, including athenahealth, led by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Telehealth framework goes beyond just tech

April 7, 2014 | By Susan D. Hall
A framework for evaluating telehealth programs must consider socioeconomic aspects--not just the technological--argue researchers in an article published online in Telemedicine and e-Health.
Costs, benefits, barriers and outcomes, including clinical outcomes, are among the integral socioeconomic factors at play in telehealth implementations, they say.
The framework's key characteristics include implementations that are loosely coupled and easy to use, describe a wide range of telehealth programs and can be expanded to meet future needs.