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Orion Health™ Completes $125 Million IPO in New Zealand

Trading Began on NZX Main Board and ASX in November

Boston, MA – December 16, 2014Orion Health, a leading population health management company, announced that shares of Orion Health Group Limited (Orion Health, the Company) began trading on the NZX Main Board and ASX following a successful IPO that raised $125 million (NZD) which included $120 million in new capital. Strong demand for the shares from eligible institutions and the clients of NZX firms saw the shares priced at $5.70, at the top of the indicative price range of $4.30-$5.70.

“Both our new shareholders and those who have supported the company over the last 21 years clearly understand the dynamics of the health data expansion and Orion Health’s ability to deliver world class solutions that will provide better outcomes for patients, providers and those who fund healthcare services,” said Andrew Ferrier, Orion Health Chairman. “Orion Health is now equipped with the resources necessary to invest in additional research and development to capture these once in a generation opportunities for innovation.”

“Health industries in many countries are aware of the impending funding crisis they will experience in the next few years. This will be driven by aging populations – the huge increase in health data likely to flow from new devices and the demands of patients for greater control over their own healthcare,” said Orion Health Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ian McCrae. “Orion Health is already at the forefront with solutions that are delivering benefits to 450 customers across 25 countries. We are now funded to significantly increase our research and development efforts to expand our capability and solutions for customers.”

McCrae retains 98% of his shareholding and still holds 50.3% of the company. Orion Health’s shares trade with the code OHE on both the NZX Main Board and ASX. Deustche Craigs and First NZ Capital were Joint Lead Managers for the IPO.

About Orion Health Inc.

Orion Health, a population health management company, makes healthcare information available anywhere by providing healthcare IT connectivity in nearly every U.S. state and in over 30 countries worldwide—facilitating care for tens of millions of patients every day. With an inherent ability to interconnect a wide variety of healthcare information systems, Orion Health facilitates data exchange within and among provider organizations, accountable care organizations, health plans, governments and health information exchanges, to improve care coordination, enable population health management, enhance quality of care and help reduce costs. For more information, visit www.orionhealth.com. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

December 16, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Coalfire Predicts: In 2015 the Cost of Cybersecurity and Risk Management Will Remain on Track to Double

Fueled by cyber-crime, cyber-ware, and cyber-terrorism

DENVER–Coalfire, the leading independent information technology governance, risk and compliance (IT GRC) firm, today released its top ten cybersecurity predictions for 2015.

“It’s time for companies to start looking ahead at the next generation of threats and to step up their game to better protect consumer data. The threat landscape is continuously evolving. If you don’t already have threat intelligence and response plans ready for implementation in 2015, now is the time. As 2014 ends, it’s clear this was the year everything changed in the world of information security,” said Rick Dakin, Coalfire’s CEO and chief security strategist. “As high-profile data breaches were announced one after another, consumers stopped believing companies took protecting their information seriously.”

Coalfire conducts more than 1,000 audits and assessments of systems containing sensitive data each year. Based on the trends in those investigations, Dakin predicts the following for 2015:

  1. Motivated Threat Actors – The number and sophistication of cyber threats will continue to increase exponentially. Fueled by both geopolitics and economic incentives, international (and often state-sponsored) criminal organizations will escalate their development of offensive cyber capabilities.
  2. Redefining the Defense – The demands of cybersecurity are fundamentally changing IT. Cyber risk management and security compliance will take an equal weight to other design criteria like functionality, capacity and performance. Financial ROIs will be balanced by a new understanding of risk exposure for sub-par solutions.
  3. Three Heads vs. One – In large organizations, there are technical roles that require the knowledge and experience of CIOs, CTOs and CISOs. While some have predicted the death of the CIO role, we see instead a balancing of responsibility between three peers.
  4. Investments Will Increase – In the face of pernicious new threats, the cost of cybersecurity and risk management will remain on track to double over the next three years.
  5. New Fronts – The expansion of mobility, cloud computing, bring your own device (BYOD) policies, and the Internet of Things will provide new (and previously unforeseen) opportunities for cyber-crime, cyber-warfare, and cyber-terrorism.
  6. Universal Monitoring – As a result of cyber-incidents, every organization (or person) will be using some form of continuous monitoring service (threat, scanning, identity or credit). These will be legislated, mandated by financials institutions or insurers, or acquired on their own behalf.
  7. Business Leadership on Policy Development – Executive leadership will lead to further development and maturation of standards across private sector and governmental organizations. This approach to security and cyber risk management will reduce the potential for “unforeseen” damage from cyber-attacks, cyber warfare and cyberterrorism.
  8. New Threat Detection and Response Technologies – There will be an increased use of crowdsourcing, machine intelligence, and cognitive/advanced analytics to detect and stay ahead of threats. Bounties for catching bad actors and advanced algorithmics will help the “good guys” identify and stay ahead of the hordes of malicious players.
  9. Improved Security – New and better applications of authentication, EMV, encryption and tokenized solutions will increase the security of payments and other personal and confidential information. Apple Pay and other next-generation solutions will overcome anti-NFC inertia and lead to increasing adoption of mobile-based security technologies for both retail payment and other applications, such as healthcare, where critical and confidential information is exchanged.
  10. Back to Offense – We will see the beginnings of a shift from cyber-defense to cyber-offense. From attempting to build impenetrable systems, to building systems that make it possible to identify attackers and provide the means to prosecute, frustrate or delay them.

About Coalfire

Coalfire is the leading, independent cyber security and risk management firm that provides audit, assessment, advisory and compliance management solutions. Founded in 2001, Coalfire has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Orlando, Washington D.C. and England and completes thousands of projects annually in retail, financial services, healthcare, government and utilities. Coalfire’s solutions are adapted to requirements under emerging data privacy legislation, the PCI DSS, GLBA, FFIEC, HIPAA/HITECH, HITRUST, NERC CIP, Sarbanes-Oxley, FISMA and FedRAMP. For more information, visit www.coalfire.com

December 12, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Statewide Health Information Network of New York Introduces New Alert System to Improve Care for High-Risk Patients

New York State Department of Health, Brooklyn Health Home and Oscar Demonstrate How Healthix’s Clinical Event Notifications Protect Patients in New York City and Long Island through Real-Time Alerts

New York, NY: The New York State Health Department today joined with Healthix, the Brooklyn Health Home and Oscar to provide an update on the development of New York’s new electronic health record system, the Statewide Health Information Network of New York (SHIN-NY).

To demonstrate how the SHIN-NY operates on a regional level, the group highlighted Healthix’s patient alert system, which allows care managers to receive real-time alerts when their patients are admitted to or discharged from a hospital, helping to improve care coordination and reduce avoidable hospital re-admissions.

Healthix, the largest of the nine Qualified Entities that comprise the SHIN-NY, already facilitates health information exchange for 10 million patients across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Long Island.

“Healthix and the other regional networks that comprise the Statewide Health Information Network of New York are essential to improving the delivery of health care in the Empire State,” said acting New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker. “By utilizing advancements in health technology, the SHIN-NY network has given us the ability to ensure that critical health data is up to date and available when it is needed the most.”

Earlier this year, the New York State legislature voted to appropriate $55MM to support the development of the SHIN-NY — a “network of networks.”   The SHIN-NY will enable doctors and patients to securely access their electronic health records no matter where they live or work in the state.  Access to critical health information will improve the quality of care and help reduce unnecessary hospital re-admissions, a key driver of healthcare expenditures in New York.

Healthix’s patient alert system, also known as Clinical Event Notifications, triggers over 5,000 monthly real-time updates to case managers about their high-risk patients, allowing them to better navigate crisis situations and develop comprehensive health care plans to further their care in the future.

“We at Healthix are gratified to be able to deliver tools designed to support providers, assist care managers and help coordinate the care of patients, many of whom struggle with multiple co-morbidities and other complex conditions,” said Tom Check, CEO of Healthix.  “With a growing number of participating clinical, behavioral health and social service providers, as well as health plans, Healthix provides secure access to current patient information wherever and whenever it’s needed.”

 

The Brooklyn Health Home (BHH) coordinates care for over 8,000 at-risk patients across the borough of Brooklyn, and has utilized Healthix’s clinical event notifications with successful results. By using the system, the Health Home’s community-based care managers have been able to expeditiously respond to their patients’ urgent care needs, including visits to emergency rooms and hospital admissions. For example, care managers can bring critical information about patients to hospital staff in real-time, and communicate with patients’ providers in the community to collaborate on care plans that will prevent avoidable hospital visits in the future.

BHH has also implemented protocols that are triggered once a care manager receives an alert. For example, care managers must visit hospitalized patients within two business days, and conduct case conferences with the clinical team. In the third quarter of 2014, Brooklyn Health Home care managers received over 1,300 clinical event notifications from Healthix, and timely responses to these alerts increased by 10% from February – September of 2014.

“Real-time communication and collaboration with a patient’s care team, especially around critical events like ER visits and hospital stays, is the fundamental core of our program,” said Dr. Karen Nelson, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Health Home and Senior Vice President of Integrated Delivery Systems at Maimonides Medical Center. “The Healthix alerts, which are integrated in our care coordination IT platform, are the key drivers that facilitate understanding the root causes of acute care utilization and developing care plans to keep individuals well, in their communities, and accessing appropriate care and services.”

Oscar, the innovative health insurance company representing 17,000 members in New York, has also utilized Healthix’s Clinical Event Notifications for over six months. Thanks to the system, Oscar’s medical team has engaged 80% of their members who generated a Healthix notification on a variety of urgent healthcare issues. Healthix’s system notified Oscar’s medical team of 66 Emergency Room visits and hospital admissions in the past six weeks alone, allowing Oscar’s nurses to provide appropriate care management services, including: care coordination with the Hospital Discharge Planner about post- acute services, arranging and authorizing outpatient rehabilitation and delivery and authorization of medical equipment and supplies.

“Healthix Clinical Event Notifications have enabled Oscar to support our members through new, meaningful interactions with care,” said Oscar co-founder and co-CEO Mario Schlosser.“The CEN process has had a significant effect on improving both the velocity and effectiveness of Case Management and Care Coordination at Oscar. Through this partnership our in-house team of doctors and nurses are able to supplement their knowledge of member health and in turn continue to provide simple, intuitive, health care for all.”

In addition to the Brooklyn Health Home and Oscar, a growing number of healthcare organizations are utilizing Healthix’s alert system, including: NYU Langone Medical Center, Mount Sinai Health System, North Shore-LIJ Health System, Lutheran Medical Center, Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Federation Employment and Guidance Service, Inc. (FEGS), ProHEALTH Care Associates LLP, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and others.

Currently, patient health data in Healthix is accessible only to healthcare providers within New York City and Long Island. But in 2015 the SHIN-NY will expand Healthix’s reach by connecting healthcare providers and case managers to critical patient health information no matter where they are located in the state, with patient consent. For example, if a patient from New York City needed emergency care while visiting Albany, the SHIN-NY would give the treating physician instant access to that patient’s records in order to provide effective treatment.  For patients who live in areas that border several other regions such as the Hudson Valley, the SHIN-NY, will make it easier for all of their providers to access and share the patient’s health records seamlessly.

In addition to improving the quality of care and improving patient safety, creating a statewide network is expected to save hundreds of millions across the state through reduced re-admissions and eliminating redundant tests. For more information about the SHIN-NY, please visit www.nyehealth.org.

About Healthix:
Healthix is a Qualified Entity, devoted to developing, deploying and operating innovative uses of interoperable health information technology and analytics to facilitate patient-centric care for New Yorkers. Healthix was formed through mergers between NYCLIX, LIPIX, and most recently BHIX. The newly merged Healthix expertly delivers health information exchange services, access to clinical data and the tools to support care coordination for over 10 million patients and over 140 participant organizations serving over 500 locations in New York City and Nassau and Suffolk counties.  Please visit www.healthix.org to learn more.

About Oscar:
Oscar is a new kind of health insurance company, designed to put people first. Through a high-tech, data-driven approach, easy-to-understand language and a unique set of benefits, Oscar is drastically changing the way we think about and interact with our health insurance. Founded in 2012, Oscar makes health insurance simple, transparent and human. For more information, visit hioscar.com or holaoscar.com.

About the Brooklyn Health Home:
The Brooklyn Health Home (BHH), led by Maimonides Medical Center, was designated by New York State in December 2011. Its goal is to identify, engage and address the full range of behavioral, medical and social problems affecting thousands of patients with multiple chronic conditions, serious mental illness and/or HIV. The BHH fosters collaboration and the timely exchange of patient information among involved providers and drives measurable improvements in patient engagement and outcomes.

BHH currently serves over 8,000 members who live and/or receive care in Brooklyn.

About New York State Department of Health:
The New York State Department of Health is charged with protecting the health, productivity and wellbeing of all New Yorkers by striving to create healthy communities and ensuring access to quality, evidence-based, cost-effective health services. With a budget of more than $58 billion, the Department regulates more than 200 hospitals and hundreds of other health care facilities; administers the state’s public health insurance programs; oversees more than 80,000 New York state-licensed doctors, administers the state health benefit marketplace, NY State of Health; runs a premier biomedical laboratory; and supports numerous, innovative public health and prevention initiatives.

December 11, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Reasons Why Nurses Benefit from Earning MSN Degree Online

– MSN Provides Nurses with Specialized Training that Employers Seek –

AURORA, Colo.December 11, 2014 – American Sentinel University, an accredited career-focused online university, details reasons why it makes sense for nurses to earn a Master of Science Nursing (MSN) degree online to expand their career opportunities and professional growth.

“Opportunities for advanced practice nursing continues to grow,” says Elaine Foster, Ph.D., MSN, RN, associate dean, graduate nursing programs at American Sentinel University.  “For nurses who have an RN license and earned a BSN, a master’s degree is a natural next step. It allows nurses to apply their professional interests, medical knowledge and clinical skills as they lead nursing teams, and mentor the next generation of nurses.”

Dr. Foster says if a nurse plans to move into management, an MSN is quickly becoming the minimum education they’ll need to earn that promotion. And for nurses who want to specialize in fields like case management, informatics, or infection prevention and control, an MSN degree can provide them with the specialized knowledge that employers are seeking.

She points out that many nurses face obstacles when they decide to pursue an advanced nursing degree, especially when they are immersed in a full-time job; however, earning an advanced degree online is much less intimidating, and lot more flexible than most think.

“Going back to school takes dedication and commitment for working nurses, but earning an MSN is more convenient than ever, thanks to accredited, high-quality online programs,” says Dr. Foster.

An online nursing degree is beneficial for the following reasons:

-Convenience. Most online degree programs aren’t bound by a traditional academic calendar so that a nurse can manage their schedule in a way that’s convenient for them.

-Flexibility. Online learning is a perfect fit for nurses currently working full-time or managing family obligations while attending school. Students can manage their schedule and take courses as their schedule allows.

-Choice. Online learning has no geographic boundaries, so students can choose a school and the MSN program that best suits their needs, without having to leave their community or home.

-Time savings. Nurses may be able to complete an online MSN more quickly than they could in a traditional classroom setting. Courses at American Sentinel are eight weeks in length and many of the courses start monthly.

-Affordability. An online MSN program may cost less than a degree obtained in a brick-and-mortar classroom. In addition, students won’t have commuting costs when they attend school online.

Many schools offer assistance with financial aid, while some employers may offer tuition reimbursement. “American Sentinel has educational partnerships with many large healthcare systems, which means you won’t have to pay with your cash upfront and wait to be reimbursed,” says Dr. Foster.

-Accredited. American Sentinel’s MSN degree programs are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a specialized professional accreditation agency, the CCNE is an autonomous branch of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), the only accrediting body devoted to exclusively to evaluating baccalaureate and graduate nursing degree programs.

-Adult learning model. With the current push for nurses to advance their education, large numbers of nurses in their 30s, 40s, and 50s are returning to school – so online MSN programs have evolved to meet the needs of experienced nurses who may have years of clinical experience under their belts.

-Supportive environment. Most online MSN programs provide a wealth of resources to keep students motivated and on track.

“At American Sentinel, our student success advisors are well acquainted with our nursing coursework and can help to guide students with one-on-one help as they become comfortable with distance learning,” says Dr. Foster.

-Engagement. Current technologies make online learning a rich and engaging experience, through virtual lectures, multimedia content, and message boards.

“American Sentinel has a highly interactive learning system. Our students can interact with professors through e-mail, by phone, and in weekly group discussion forums – as well as engage with other MSN students in the classroom and through social networks like Facebook,” says Dr. Foster.

-Real-world applications. Online MSN programs are often specialized, with healthcare material that is current and industry relevant.  Working students gain more experience and find ways to apply new skills and knowledge immediately to their current job to put themselves in a position for promotion.

-General advancement. Nurses working toward their MSN degree learn advanced leadership and communications skills that prepare them for nursing management positions.

It’s clear that an MSN degree is becoming more and more valuable for nurses interested in rewarding careers. A master’s degree can help lead to many career opportunities that are not available to nurses with an associate or bachelor’s degree.

“A master’s degree opens the door to advanced practice nursing and helps distinguish a nurse as the most qualified candidate for management and teaching positions,” says Dr. Foster. “Moreover, earning an advanced degree show nurse managers just how dedicated you are to play an important role in improving patient outcomes.”

American Sentinel University offers accredited, online MSN degree programs with focused coursework that helps prepare nurses for a career in case management, infection prevention and control, nursing education, informatics, and nursing management and organizational leadership.

Learn more about American Sentinel’s online MSN degree programs at http://www.americansentinel.edu/nursing/m-s-nursing

About American Sentinel University
American Sentinel University delivers accredited online degree programs in nursing, informatics, MBA Health Care, DNP Executive Leadership and DNP Educational Leadership. Its affordable, flexible bachelor’s and master’s nursing degree programs are accredited by the Commission for the Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), of One Dupont Circle, NW Suite 530, Washington, D.C., 20036. The DNP program is accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) of 3343 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 850, Atlanta, Ga., 30326. The university is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC), of 1601 18th St., NW, Suite 2, Washington, D.C. 20009. The Accrediting Commission of DETC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency and is a recognized member of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. For required student consumer information, please visit:www.americansentinel.edu/doe

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Low 2014 MU 2 Attestation Numbers Validate Need for Shortened Reporting Period in 2015

CHIME reiterates call to HHS for immediate, sensible action
ANN ARBOR, MI, December 9, 2014 – As substandard Meaningful Use attestation figures for program year 2014 continue, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) reiterated its call to immediately shorten the reporting period for 2015.

According to the data, released today by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) during the Health IT Policy Committee meeting, less than 35 percent of the nation’s hospitals have met Stage 2 Meaningful Use requirements. And while eligible professionals (EPs) have until the end of February to report their progress, just 4 percent have met Stage 2 requirements thus far.

“Despite policy efforts to mitigate a disastrous program year, today’s release of participation data confirms widespread challenges with Stage 2 Meaningful Use,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO.

Roughly 1 in 3 hospitals scheduled to meet Stage 2 in 2014 had to use alternative pathways to meet MU, administrative data current through December 1 indicates.

“This trend demonstrates how vital new flexibilities were in 2014 and again, underscores the need for the same flexibility in 2015,” said Branzell. “It is imperative officials take immediate action to put this critical transformation program back on track. Shortening the time frame for MU reporting in 2015 will help to ensure the program delivers on its promise to advance the transformation of healthcare in this country.”

CHIME and several other national provider associations have repeatedly told CMS that without more program flexibility and a shortened reporting period in 2015, the future of Meaningful Use is in jeopardy.

CMS data indicates that more than 3,900 hospitals must meet Stage 2 measures and objectives in 2015 and more than 260,000 EPs will need to be similarly positioned by January 1, 2015. Given the low attestation data for 2014 and the tremendous number of providers required to meet Stage 2 for a full 365-days in 2015, leaders in the Congress have pressed for a shortened reporting period in 2015 with the introduction of H.R. 5481, theFlexibility in Health IT Reporting Act, or Flex-IT Act.

“CHIME commends Representatives Renee Ellmers and Jim Matheson for their steadfast leadership and continued support for a 90-day reporting period in 2015,” said Branzell. “Swift passage of the Flex-IT bill before Congress adjourns will provide the certainty that healthcare providers deserve to ensure the safe implementation and use of their EHR systems.”

Representative Ellmers (R-NC-2) and Representative Matheson (D-UT-4) introduced H.R. 5481, the Flex-IT Act, in mid-September with resounding support from industry groups including CHIME, American Medical Association (AMA), American Hospital Association (AHA) and Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). The bipartisan bill has reached over 21 cosponsors since being introduced.

Meaningful Use Stage 2 Attestation Numbers

 

About CHIME
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving chief information officers and other senior healthcare IT leaders. With more than 1,400 CIO members and over 140 healthcare IT vendors and professional services firms, CHIME provides a highly interactive, trusted environment enabling senior professional and industry leaders to collaborate; exchange best practices; address professional development needs; and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and healthcare in the communities they serve. For more information, please visit www.cio-chime.org.

December 9, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

New federal health IT strategic plan sets stage for better sharing through interoperability

Federal Health IT Strategic Plan open for 60-day comment period

Following collaboration with more than 35 federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today issued the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020.

The Strategic Plan represents a coordinated and focused effort to appropriately collect, share, and use interoperable health information to improve health care, individual, community and public health, and advance research across the federal government and in collaboration with private industry.

The Strategic Plan, which is open for comments, serves as the broad federal strategy setting the context and framing the Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap that will be released in early 2015. The Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap will help to define the implementation of how the federal government and private sector will approach sharing health information.

The U.S. Government has led this charge as a major payer, purchaser and provider of care and associated health IT and through programs associated with the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009. HITECH accelerated the adoption of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology among hospitals and providers, with 93 percent of eligible hospitals and 76 percent of physicians and eligible professionals taking part in the first stage of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. In addition, more than 150,000 health care providers across the nation are working with the HITECH-funded regional extension centers to optimize the use of health IT.

“The 2015 Strategic Plan provides the federal government a strategy to move beyond health care to improve health, use health IT beyond EHRs, and use policy and incentive levers beyond the incentive programs,” said Karen DeSalvo, M.D., national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary for health. “The success of this plan is also dependent upon insights from public and private stakeholders and we encourage their comments.”

“We are very pleased to be collaborating with Health and Human Services, and our other federal partners, on developing the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan.  This plan aligns with our health IT priorities. As a large provider and purchaser of care, we continually look for ways to expand the sharing of critical healthcare information with our healthcare partners,” said Karen S. Guice, M.D., M.P.P.,principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, Department of Defense.

“The Federal Health IT Strategic Plan collectively represents specific goals and strategies for how interoperability will be leveraged to foster the technological advancement of health information exchange to improve quality of care for Veterans while supporting patient-provider interaction,” said Gail Graham, deputy secretary for health informatics and analytics at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Health Information.

Beyond creating financial and regulatory incentives to encourage the use of health IT, the federal government is helping to create a competitive and innovative marketplace. This effort will help bring new tools to health IT consumers and provide tools to help strengthen health care delivery that aligns with other national strategies to improve health including safety, quality, prevention, and reducing disparities.

The Federal Health IT Strategic Plan 2015-2020 can be found on HealthIT.gov. The period to comment on the Strategic Plan ends Feb. 6, 2015.

Today’s data brief found that the ability to easily share electronic information with other care givers, an important component of chronic care management, is also a major motivation for physicians to adopt EHRs. Among physicians who adopted health IT before incentive funds were available, the ability to electronically exchange clinical information with other health care providers was the greatest motivator for adoption. More than a third of physicians who adopted EHRs after HITECH was enacted cited this capability as a major influence in their decision to adopt, and almost 4 in 10 physicians who were not using an EHR reported that the ability to electronically exchange clinical information would be a major driver in their decision to adopt.

December 8, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Financial incentives and ability to exchange clinical information found to be top reasons for EHR adoption

The need to share patient information with other providers and the use of financial incentives are key drivers in why many providers adopt and use health information technology tools like electronic health records (EHRs), according a data brief released today from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC).

The new data brief details why physicians decided to adopt – or not adopt –EHRs, and it helps to explain how financial incentives drive EHR adoption. The data, from the 2013 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, also highlights the high level of importance providers put on health information exchange.

The data demonstrates the importance of incentive programs like the HITECH Act’s Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs (meaningful use) and payments for services that include use of certified EHR technology, such as the separately billable Chronic Care Management services finalized under the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. ONC today posted a new tool to help clinicians estimate the amount of money they might receive from treating Medicare patients living with chronic conditions, while using their certified health information technology, on the HealthIT.gov dashboard.

The results released today show that since the enactment of HITECH in 2009, 62 percent of physicians who adopted health IT tools identified financial incentives and penalties as a major influence on their decision to adopt, compared with only 23 percent of physicians who adopted before 2009.

“We have seen a significant increase in the adoption and use of health IT systems among providers and the new data shows the importance of incentives in building an interoperable health IT system,” said Karen DeSalvo, M.D., national coordinator for health IT and acting assistant secretary of health. “National delivery system reform initiatives linked to certified technology, such as the separately billable chronic care management services, will help make the electronic use and sharing of health information a reality.”

Today’s data brief found that the ability to easily share electronic information with other care givers, an important component of chronic care management, is also a major motivation for physicians to adopt EHRs. Among physicians who adopted health IT before incentive funds were available, the ability to electronically exchange clinical information with other health care providers was the greatest motivator for adoption. More than a third of physicians who adopted EHRs after HITECH was enacted cited this capability as a major influence in their decision to adopt, and almost 4 in 10 physicians who were not using an EHR reported that the ability to electronically exchange clinical information would be a major driver in their decision to adopt.

December 5, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

National Health Expenditures Continued Slow Growth in 2013

Health spending continued to grow at a slow rate last year the Office of the Actuary (OACT) at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported today. In 2013, health spending grew at 3.6 percent and total national health expenditures in the United States reached $2.9 trillion, or $9,255 per person. The annual OACT report showed health spending continued a pattern of low growth—between 3.6 percent and 4.1– percent for five consecutive years. The report is being published today in Health Affairs.

The recent low rates of national health spending growth coincide with modest growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which averaged 3.9 percent per year since the end of the severe economic recession in 2010. As a result, the share of the economy devoted to health remained unchanged over this period at 17.4 percent.

“This report is another piece of evidence that our efforts to reform the health care delivery system are working,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “To keep this momentum going, we are continuing our efforts to shift toward paying for care in ways that reward providers who achieve better outcomes and lower costs.”

Total national health spending slowed from 4.1 percent growth in 2012 to 3.6 percent in 2013.  The report attributes the 0.5 percentage point slowdown in health care spending growth to slower growth in private health insurance, Medicare, and investment in medical structures and equipment spending.  However, faster growth in Medicaid spending helped to partially offset the slowdown.

Other findings from the report:

  • Medicare spending, which represented 20 percent of national health spending in 2013, grew 3.4 percent to $585.7 billion, a slowdown from growth of 4.0 percent in 2012. This slowdown was primarily caused by a deceleration in Medicare enrollment growth, as well as net impacts from the Affordable Care Act and sequestration.  Per-enrollee Medicare spending grew at about the same rate as 2012, increasing just 0.2 percent in 2013.
  • Spending on private health insurance premiums (a 33 percent share of total health care spending) reached $961.7 billion in 2013, and increased 2.8 percent, slower than the 4.0 percent growth in 2012. The slower rate of growth reflected low enrollment growth in private health insurance plans, the continued shift of enrollees to high-deductible health plans and other benefit design changes, low underlying medical benefit trends, and the impacts of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Medicaid spending grew 6.1 percent in 2013 to $449.4 billion, an acceleration from 4.0 percent growth in 2012. Faster Medicaid growth in 2013 was driven in part by increases in provider reimbursement rates, some states’ expanding benefits, and early Medicaid expansion.
  • Out-of-pocket spending (which includes direct consumer payments such as copayments, deductibles, spending by the insured on services not covered by insurance, and spending by those without health insurance) grew 3.2 percent in 2013 to $339.4 billion, slightly slower than annual growth of 3.6 percent in both 2011 and 2012.
  • Among health care goods and services, slower growth in spending for hospital care and physician and clinical services contributed to slower growth in national health care spending in 2013. However, faster spending growth for retail prescription drugs in 2013 partially offset the overall slowdown.
  • Hospital spending increased 4.3 percent to $936.9 billion in 2013 compared to 5.7 percent growth in 2012. The lower growth in 2013 was influenced by slower growth in both price and non-price factors (which include the use and intensity of services). Growth in private health insurance and Medicare hospital spending decelerated in 2013 compared to 2012.
  • Spending for physician and clinical services increased 3.8 percent in 2013 to $586.7 billion, from 4.5 percent growth in 2012. Slower price growth in 2013 was the main cause of the slowdown, as prices grew less than 0.1 percent. Growth in spending from private health insurance and Medicare, the two largest payers of physician and clinical services, experienced slower spending growth in 2013, while Medicaid growth accelerated as a result of temporary increases in payments to primary care physicians.
  • Retail prescription drug spending accelerated in 2013, growing 2.5 percent to $271.1 billion, compared to 0.5 percent growth in 2012. Faster growth in 2013 resulted from price increases for brand-name and specialty drugs, increased spending on new medicines, and increased utilization.
  • In 2013, households accounted for the largest share of spending (28 percent), followed by the federal government (26 percent), private businesses (21 percent), and state and local governments (17 percent).

Since 2010, the share of health spending financed by the federal government decreased—from 28 percent to 26 percent in 2013. At the same time, the share financed by state and local governments increased—from 16 percent in 2010 to 17 percent in 2013. These shifts resulted primarily from the June 2011 expiration of additional Medicaid funding provided by the federal government to the states through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The report includes all of the net impacts of the Affordable Care Act provisions as well as the budget sequester through 2013.  The Affordable Care Act provisions that exerted downward pressure in 2013 were:

  • productivity adjustments for Medicare fee-for-service payments
  • reduced Medicare Advantage base payment rates
  • increased Medicaid prescription drug rebates
  • the medical loss ratio requirement for private insurers

The Affordable Care Act provisions that exerted upward pressure in 2013 included:

  • early Medicaid expansion initiatives
  • a temporary increase in Medicaid primary care provider payments
  • reducing the size of the Medicare Part D donut hole
  • the implementation of prescription drug industry fees

The OACT report will appear at http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NationalHealthAccountsHistorical.html

December 3, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

What’s Next for Imaging Technology?

HIMSS Analytics Releases 2014 Imaging Technology Study

Chicago – December 2, 2014 – HIMSS Analytics released today its latest Essentials Brief, the 2014 Imaging Technology Study.

This detailed look at the PACS (picture archiving and communication system) imaging technology landscape among U.S. hospitals and ambulatories includes data from the HIMSS Analytics® Database, as well as unique insight from imaging services executives across the country. Topics in the Brief include market utilization, vendor market share and trajectory, as well as a look at the usage and drivers behind Enterprise Image Viewing.

“What became clear is that despite being a saturated market, the imaging technology landscape is also one in which outdated technology is not uncommon,” said HIMSS Analytics Research Director, Brendan FitzGerald. “That, coupled with a growing need for additional functionality around image management and distribution is leading organizations to upgrade technology currently in place.”

Highlights of the Essentials Brief include:

•    The need for additional functionality was cited as the primary driver by 68% of respondents who plan to purchase a new system,
upgrade or replace their current system

•     Just under 25% of respondents currently make images accessible via mobile devices

•    Approximately 50% of respondents currently utilize Enterprise Image Viewing functionality

HIMSS Analytics Essentials Briefs are complimentary for hospitals and health systems, and are available for a fee to all other interested parties. To request a copy, please emailconsulting@himssanalytics.org from your employer’s email domain.

About HIMSS Analytics
HIMSS Analytics collects, analyzes and distributes essential health IT data related to products, costs, metrics, trends and purchase decisions.  It delivers quality data and analytical expertise to healthcare delivery organizations, IT companies, governmental entities, financial, pharmaceutical and consulting companies. Visit www.himssanalytics.org.

December 2, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

TruCode Adds Prognosis Innovation Healthcare to Its Roster of EHR Partners for Full Clinical Coding Encoder Integration

ALPHARETTA, GA (December 2, 2014) – TruCode and Prognosis Innovation Healthcare announced today a reseller and full application integration partnership. Trucode Encoder Essentials, the company’s web services solution for clinical coding, will be embedded within the Prognosis Innovation Healthcare’s ChartAccess® EHR and Financial Revenue Cycle Management systems. The full encoder-EHR integration streamlines coding workflows and improves billing accuracy and efficiency for Prognosis Innovation’s hospital, physician practice and clinic customers. The announcement was made jointly by Mike Mulligan, Managing Partner, TruCode, and Steve Everest, CEO, Prognosis Innovation Healthcare.

“The best clinical coding experience results when encoder technology is fully integrated into the end user’s core system,” mentions Mulligan. Complete encoder integration within HIS, EMR or EHR systems gives medical record coders and billers sophisticated code searches, grouping, code edits, clinical coding references, and coding advice at their fingertips. “With an integrated versus interfaced encoder, no time is wasted for medical record coders and no separate contract is required for the vendor, hospital, practice or clinic,” adds Mulligan. Everest concurs.

“We selected TruCode after a long search for an encoder partner who understood our unique market needs and was willing to work with us in a tight integration strategy,” Everest states. “Prognosis’s success is built on our ability to deliver integrated solutions that improve workflow. TruCode’s strategy is the same, making a win-win partnership for our customers.”

The TruCode-Prognosis partnership includes system integration and reseller agreements. For Prognosis customer Vicki Howe, RHIT, Director of HIM at Ness County Hospital in Kansas, the agreement means that “our coders have access to an excellent encoder/grouper with all the coding tools they need at their fingertips with a single point of entry to accommodate both MedGenix and ChartAccess, including references such as; AHA Coding Clinic for ICD-9 and I-10, CPT Assistant, Official Coding Guidelines for ICD-9 and I-10, Coders Desk Reference, as well as others.” “I am looking forward to the dynamics that TruCode and Prognosis Innovative Healthcare will provide to us,” she concludes.

About TruCode

TruCode (Alpharetta, GA) is an innovator in the medical coding software market, providing an encoder application, components and web services to the hospital, consulting and Healthcare IT marketplace. TruCode was the first to release a complete ICD-10-CM encoder and deliver encoder components via web services. TruCode’s Encoder Essentials fully integrate into healthcare IT technologies including: Computer Assisted Coding (CAC), Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI), Electronic Medical Records (EMR), Health Information Systems (HIS) and Healthcare Business Analytics. For more information visit: www.trucode.com.

About Prognosis Innovation Healthcare

Prognosis Innovation Healthcare provides an enterprise solution, including EHR and financial systems, to rural and community hospitals. It offers a predictable path, built-in Clinical Pathways and a Meaningful Use Scorecard to drive standard of care. One hundred percent of Prognosis Innovation’s eligible clients have achieved meaningful use. Learn more at: www.prognosisinnovation.com.

I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.