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HIPAA Secure Now! Helps Covered Entities Comply with HIPAA Privacy Rule; New Privacy Tools Augment Company’s HIPAA Security Compliance Services

MORRISTOWN, NJ – APRIL 8, 2015 – Today HIPAA Secure Now! began offering covered entities, a suite of HIPAA  Privacy Tools to help them meet requirements of the HIPAA Privacy Rule.  The suite includes an updated HIPAA privacy policy manual and training module, which complements its HIPAA security services package.  A secure portal gives customers access to policies and procedures, and all the forms needed to implement the HIPAA Privacy Rule.  An Education Center for training employees provides interactive slides and videos, a compliance quiz and completion certificates.

“While most medical practices have implemented the Privacy Rule to some degree they may lack written policies, all the necessary forms, or they may be falling behind on employee training,” said Art Gross, CEO for HIPAA Secure Now!  “Initially we concentrated on helping clients comply with the HIPAA Security Rule.  We guided them in protecting electronic patient information with a security risk analysis, policies, training and technology recommendations.  Now we’re adding Privacy Tools, which offers similar resources and training but is geared toward the overall use, management and distribution of patients’ health information, as laid out by the Office of Civil Rights.”

The HIPAA Privacy Rule obligates covered entities to comply with standards that address the protection, use and disclosure of an individual’s health information.  The Rule states how a medical practice can use a patient’s health information, whether it shares that information with another covered entity to provide additional care, or submits it to an insurer for reimbursement.

Likewise, the Privacy Rule sets standards designed to safeguard an individual’s privacy rights and gives the patient control over how his health information is used.  For example, a patient can put restrictions on a diagnosis if they don’t want it disclosed to a family member.  And they can file complaints if their health information has been shared without their permission.

With HIPAA Secure Now’s Privacy Tools, covered entities now have an online manual that they can search, and print out forms, including patient request for amendment of their protected health information, patient complaint forms, as well as patient restrictions on their protected health information, to name a few. The manual covers policies and procedures, including different scenarios of the privacy rules, such as when covered entities can share patient information with or without authorization.

An in-depth training program, also provided in an online format, helps employees understand the standards of the HIPAA Privacy Rule and what could put the practice at risk for breaking patients’ confidentiality.  Training information is updated annually and takes less than two hours to complete.

About HIPAA Secure Now!

HIPAA Secure Now! has been helping clients comply with the HIPAA Security Rule since 2009.  The company’s all-in-one solution provides risk assessment, which also satisfies Meaningful Use requirements, as well as privacy and security policies and procedures, and training.  HIPAA Secure Now! moves customers toward HIPAA compliance quickly and easily, and protects them in the event of an audit. Customers can complete the entire process in less than three hours, and regularly comment that it is painless and has made their lives easier.  For more information visit www.HIPAASecureNow.com.

April 8, 2015 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.

WEDI Submits Comments on ONC Interoperability Roadmap

12 action steps identified for ONC, based on industry interoperability survey findings

RESTON, Va. — April 07, 2015 — The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), the nation’s leading nonprofit authority on the use of health IT to create efficiencies in healthcare information exchange, released the survey results of its March 2015 interoperability survey along with an April 3 letter of recommended action steps to the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT.

As a response to the call for comments to the interoperability roadmap released by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT, WEDI issued an industry survey in March 2015 to gauge current electronic information exchange efforts, pinpoint challenges to interoperable exchange, and measure support for a national patient identifier among healthcare stakeholders. Based on the survey responses from 372 organizations, including health plans, providers, health IT vendors, health information exchange organizations and other participants, WEDI relayed the following key observations from the survey findings:

Universal Patient Identifier (UPI)

  1. Current patient matching methodologies are insufficient and ineffective. Healthcare providers report that only 25 percent of electronic patient records are successfully matched on the first pass without manual intervention.
  2. Stakeholders appear to be generally favorable towards a universal patient identifier. A UPI would be supported by 68 percent of organizations surveyed, including providers (62 percent), health plans (79 percent), and health IT vendors (70 percent).
  3. Health data is encrypted when in‐transit to external organizations – however, organizations continue to lag in encrypting data internally and at‐rest. Healthcare providers report that some electronic health data, i.e. 51‐100 percent, is encrypted when in‐transit externally (49 percent), in‐transit internally (35 percent), and at‐rest (36 percent).

Exchange Capabilities

  1. Direct is the primary method currently used by organizations to electronically exchange health information. Direct is used routinely or occasionally by providers for internal exchange (81 percent) and external exchange (63 percent).
  2. Healthcare providers are unable to easily exchange clinical information electronically with non‐affiliated healthcare organizations. With the exception of sending to pharmacies, less than 25 percent of provider organizations are able to easily send information to most non‐affiliated healthcare organizations.
  3. Health plans are also unable to easily exchange clinical information electronically with other organizations. Less than 33 percent of health plans are able to easily send information to most non‐affiliated healthcare organizations and less than half are able to easily receive clinical information electronically from other organizations.

Barriers and Challenges

  1. Organizations have difficulty with leveraging electronic data – particularly the process of blending structured and unstructured data. Provider and health plans report difficulties with blending structured and unstructured data (56 percent) and integrating different types of data (44 percent).
  2. The majority of organizations find financial barriers to be a challenge to electronic data exchange, from developing capabilities to ongoing maintenance and fees. Provider organizations are challenged by financial barriers such as infrastructure costs (67 percent), connection and set‐up fees (64 percent), ongoing transactional fees for exchanging data (63 percent), training staff (61 percent), and ongoing membership fees for participating in an HIE (59 percent).

Impact

  1. To date, the electronic exchange of health information is slow to yield strong improvements among healthcare stakeholders. Less than half of provider organizations report that electronic information exchange has improved performance measures such as care coordination (48 percent), information flow (42 percent), quality of care (40 percent), and safety (40 percent).
  2. Organizations are optimistic that electronic exchange of health information will contribute to improvements in the next year. Providers expect exchange to improve care coordination (69 percent), quality of care (66 percent), and information flow (66 percent), and worsen cost of care (7 percent) and provider satisfaction (7 percent).

Health IT Market

  1. Vendor systems provide mixed levels of exchange functionality with other health IT products. Vendors report that their systems (self‐built or in partnership with other vendors) currently facilitate external data exchange of data types such as demographics (84 percent), insurance enrollment/eligibility status and benefits (77 percent), hospital ADT (68 percent), and summary of care records (65 percent).
  2. Vendor systems are still nascent in their patient‐centered capabilities. Little functionality is available to facilitate exchange of patient‐centered information such as patient‐reported data (38 percent) and advanced directive (43 percent).
  3. Vendor systems can generally offer strong data exchange capabilities. Systems are equipped to exchange structured clinical data (81 percent) and administrative data (88 percent), as well as unstructured clinical data (74 percent) and administrative data (81 percent).
  4. A minority of vendors have developed revenue models from providers sending and receiving electronic health information, including transactional, monthly, and annual fee structures. Among the EHR vendors surveyed, the most common form of revenue is a monthly fee (33 percent); no EHR vendors reported other fee structures.
  5. More alignment among vendors is needed to advance interoperability. Vendors report a number of barriers to the electronic exchange of health information, including the lack of interoperability with other vendor systems (67 percent), unstable market (62 percent), cost of development (63 percent), and lack of consensus around required data standards (59 percent).

The full reporting of survey results is available on the WEDI website along with the complete letter to ONC. Based on the survey results, industry stakeholders appear to continue to move forward in their efforts to exchange clinical information, but growth is inhibited due to implementation costs and limited visible impact on clinical and business outcomes.

“WEDI applauds the work of ONC to develop a common framework for interoperability in our nation through the release of the recent roadmap,” said Devin Jopp, Ed.D., WEDI president and CEO. “However, what we’ve found — from not only this industry interoperability survey, but also from our discussions around concerns from key groups — is that there are significant barriers to interoperable electronic data exchange that remain to be addressed across providers, health plans and vendors alike. We want to ensure that the roadmap is one that is realistic and viable for all entities involved, so that the industry can rally together around the work, rather than be discouraged or hesitant.”

About WEDI

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) is the leading authority on the use of health IT to improve healthcare information exchange in order to enhance the quality of care, improve efficiency, and reduce costs of our nation’s healthcare system. WEDI was formed in 1991 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and was designated in the 1996 HIPAA legislation as an advisor to HHS. WEDI’s membership includes a broad coalition of organizations, including: hospitals, providers, health plans, vendors, government agencies, consumers, not-for-profit organizations, and standards development organizations. To learn more, visit www.wedi.org and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

April 7, 2015 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.

Healthcare IT Leaders Continue to Expect Budget Increases in 2015

TEKsystems’ Review of Three Year Trends Illustrates Rolling, But Positive Budget Expectations; Operational Issues Cited as Biggest Challenges to Success

Hanover, Md. – April 6, 2015 – Leading into HIMSS15, TEKsystems®, a leading provider of IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services, today highlighted results that explore the current state of IT operations at healthcare organizations. The findings identify key objectives and challenges for healthcare IT teams, the skills most needed to meet those demands, as well as expectations for spending and confidence. The data is gleaned from information captured within TEKsystems’ 2013–2015 annual IT forecasts as reported by IT leaders (CIOs, IT VPs, IT directors, IT hiring managers) at healthcare organizations.

Key findings from the data include:

Expectations for IT Budget Growth Decrease in 2015; Yet Confidence Continues to Increase

  • Fifty-one percent of respondents expect their organization’s healthcare IT budget to increase in 2015, down from 68 percent that said the same entering 2014, and returning to levels seen entering 2013 (52 percent). Thirty-eight percent expect IT budgets to stay the same, a significant increase over 2014 (23 percent) and similar to levels of 2013 (41 percent).
  • Sixty-four percent are confident in their IT department’s ability to satisfy business demands in 2015, an increase over the 59 and 58 percent that felt confident heading into 2014 and 2013, respectively. Ten percent indicated they are unconfident in 2015, the same percentage as 2014 and down from 2013 (13 percent).
  • TEKsystems’ Take: Expectations for budget increases began to normalize last year. Following the ICD-10 extension by Congress, IT leaders felt less pressure to seek additional funding to meet those deadlines. Confidence has continued to grow even as budget increases have leveled out, now that organizations have core personnel in place or have developed other plans, such as outsourcing, to address workload concerns.

IT Support Aligns with Business Challenges; Focus Is on Improving Operations and Efficiency

  • From 2014 to 2015, operational issues (81 percent) moved up from No. 2 to No. 1 as the biggest organizational challenge. Risk management (79 percent) dropped from No. 1 to No. 2. These were followed by revenue (67 percent) in third, workforce management (59 percent) in fourth and customer attraction, retention and satisfaction (22 percent) in fifth, maintaining their previous rankings.
  • Over the last three years, operationally focused areas (e.g., improving efficiency, reducing costs, improving existing IT applications and infrastructure, and managing risk) have all been cited within the top five business objectives that most need IT support.
  • In 2015, improving efficiency (49 percent) was cited as the top objective followed by reducing costs (42 percent), improving existing IT applications and infrastructure (37 percent), managing risk (34 percent) and delivering operational results (29 percent).
  • TEKsystems’ Take: Now that healthcare organizations have identified the biggest challenges facing them in 2015, they are working to align IT support priorities to address those challenges.They have laid the foundations for their large IT initiatives and must shift focus to ensure that they are implementing new projects and establishing best practices in a way that allows them to make the most of existing investments. Increasing efficiency and making the most of these implementations will better position them to take on other projects in the future.

Most Impactful Technology Trends Include Business Intelligence (BI) / Big Data, Security, Mobility, Consumerization and Cloud; Expected Spending Increases Mirror These Areas

  • Over the last two years, healthcare IT leaders listed BI / Big Data, security, mobility and consumerization of IT / BYOD as the top four trends impacting their organizations.
  • From 2014 to 2015, BI / Big Data (61 percent) moved up from No. 4 to No. 1, security (54 percent) moved from No. 3 to No. 2, while mobility (42 percent) dropped from No. 1 to No. 3 and consumerization of IT / BYOD (38 percent) dropped from No. 2 to No. 4. Cloud computing (31 percent) increased from No. 6 to No. 5.
  • The majority of healthcare IT leaders expect to see spending increases in security (70 percent), mobility (61 percent), BI / Big Data (60 percent) and cloud (55 percent).
  • TEKsystems’ Take:These expectations for spending increases make sense considering that security, mobility, BI / Big Data and cloud are all cited as the most impactful areas and tend to have some interdependencies. These areas play a large part in how healthcare organizations can increase operational efficiency and risk management.

Hands-on Roles Still Most Critical For Success, Also Most Difficult to Fill with Exceptional Talent

  • “Doers” continue to be cited as the most critical positions for an organization to achieve success. In 2014 and 2015, project managers, help desk / technical support and programmers and developers were cited within the top four roles most critical to enabling success.
  • From 2014 to 2015, project managers (51 percent) moved up from No. 2 to No. 1 and help desk / technical support (47 percent) moved from No. 3 to No. 2, while programmers and developers (45 percent) dropped from No. 1 to No. 3. IT managers (40 percent)—the only “leader” position in the top five—moved from No. 7 to No. 4 and software engineers (37 percent) moved from No. 6 to No. 5.
  • In terms of the most difficult roles to fill, project managers rank as the No. 1, climbing two spots up from No. 3 in 2014. Security (No. 2), programmers and developers (No. 3), software engineers (No. 4) and architects (No. 5) also ranked within the top five most difficult positions to fill. BI (ranked No. 11 in 2013) ranks as the sixth most difficult position to fill, down from No. 5 in 2014.
  • More than half of healthcare IT leaders expect salary increases for project managers (55 percent), software engineers (53 percent) and programmers and developers (52 percent). Approximately one-third (34 percent) expect increased salaries for help desk / technical support.
  • TEKsystems’ Take: It’s not surprising that project managers and programmers and developers remain in the top four most difficult positions to fill, as these staff members are in the trenches ensuring that organizations continue to make the most of their IT investments to increase ease of use and efficiency. This value translates into greater expectations for salary increases as organizations seek to retain their developed talent.

Vast Majority Expect Staff Salaries to Rise; More Than Two out of Five Expect Full-time and Contingent Hiring Increases

  • Seventy-three percent of healthcare IT leaders expect overall IT salaries to increase in 2015, up from 69 percent who said the same in 2014. The remaining 27 percent expect salaries to stay the same, with no respondents expecting salary decreases.
  • Forty-three percent of healthcare IT leaders expect hiring for full-time IT staff to increase (a decrease from 44 and 50 percent in 2014 and 2013, respectively), while 52 percent expect hiring to remain the same. Just 5 percent expect to see a decrease.
  • Forty-two percent of healthcare IT leaders expect hiring for contingent IT staff to increase (a drop from 48 and 52 percent in 2014 and 2013, respectively), while 52 percent expect hiring to remain the same. Only 6 percent expect to see a decrease.
  • TEKsystems’ Take: As more work is done to make the most of investments in BI / Big Data, security, mobility and consumerization of IT / BYOD, organizations will need to at least maintain their full-time and contingent workforces in order to cultivate efficiency and make progress. While retaining top talent by increasing salaries will be a key tactic, new staff will need to be brought on as projects expand.

“Last year, we saw an early surge in the numbers of healthcare IT leaders expecting to see budget increases due to the overarching mandate to meet the former ICD-10 implementation deadline and to get new healthcare technology initiatives off the ground,” said Ryan Skains, executive director of TEKsystems Healthcare Services. “We are seeing those numbers level out as organizations not only make headway on the projects they have begun, but as they increasingly become confident in their staff’s expanding expertise and ability to meet major deadlines. Moving forward, the focus will be on refining systems and processes to increase efficiency and growth opportunity.”

TEKsystems’ Ryan Skains is available for additional commentary. For more information about the survey or to schedule an interview, please contact Rick McLaughlin at TEKsystems@daviesmurphy.com.

About TEKsystems®

People are at the heart of every successful business initiative. At TEKsystems, we understand people. Every year we deploy over 80,000 IT professionals at 6,000 client sites across North America, Europe and Asia. Our deep insights into IT human capital management enable us to help our clients achieve their business goals—while optimizing their IT workforce strategies. We provide IT staffing solutions, IT talent management expertise and IT services to help our clients plan, build and run their critical business initiatives. Through our range of quality-focused delivery models, we meet our clients where they are, and take them where they want to go, the way they want to get there.

April 6, 2015 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.

WEDI Survey Suggests Mixed Industry ICD-10 Readiness

Responses from more than 1,100 vendors, health plans and providers indicate ICD-10 delay has slowed some readiness activities; compliance date uncertainty cited as top obstacle

RESTON, Va. — April 6, 2015 The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI), the nation’s leading nonprofit authority on the use of health IT to create efficiencies in healthcare information exchange, announced the release of its findings from its February 2015 ICD-10 Industry Readiness Survey.  In its March 31 letter to the HHS Secretary, WEDI reported concern with the current level of industry preparedness noting that many organizations did not take full advantage of the additional time afforded by the one-year delay.

“Unless all industry segments take the initiative to make a dedicated effort and move forward with their implementation work, there will be significant disruption on Oct. 1, 2015,” said Devin Jopp, Ed.D, president and CEO of WEDI.

Highlights from the latest survey findings include:

  • Compliance date uncertainty: Uncertainty around further delays was listed as a primary obstacle to implementation, appearing on more than 50 percent of all responses for vendors, health plans and providers.
  • Health plan testing: More than 50 percent of health plans have begun external testing, and of these, a few have completed testing. This is a slight improvement from the prior survey.
  • Vendor product availability: About 60 percent indicated their vendor products were available or they had started customer testing. This is a slight decrease from about two-thirds in the August 2014 survey. However, the number that responded ‘unknown’ decreased from one eighth to just a handful.
  • Provider testing: Only 25 percent of provider respondents had begun external testing and only a few others had completed this step. This is actually a decrease from the about 35 percent of provider respondents that had begun external testing in the August 2014 survey.

“Based on the survey results, it appears the delay has had a negative impact on some readiness activities—especially external testing. Uncertainty over further delays was listed as a top obstacle across all industry segments,” said Jim Daley, WEDI past-chair and ICD-10 Workgroup co-chair. “While the delay provided more time for the transition to ICD-10, many organizations did not take full advantage of this additional time and many providers are falling further behind.”

About the Survey
The survey results are based on responses from 1,174 respondents, consisting of 796 providers, 173 vendors and 205 health plans. The number of responses more than doubled from the last ICD-10 survey WEDI conducted in August 2014.

This is the tenth ICD-10 readiness survey WEDI has conducted since 2009, all of which were done in an effort to gain a broad perspective on the readiness status for different sections of the industry, and to gauge how quickly they are progressing towards the Oct. 1, 2015 implementation deadline. The full survey results are contained in WEDI’s letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). More information on WEDI events and ICD-10 work products are also available on the WEDI website atwww.wedi.org/workgroups/icd-10.

About WEDI

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) is the leading authority on the use of health IT to improve healthcare information exchange in order to enhance the quality of care, improve efficiency, and reduce costs of our nation’s healthcare system. WEDI was formed in 1991 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and was designated in the 1996 HIPAA legislation as an advisor to HHS. WEDI’s membership includes a broad coalition of organizations, including: hospitals, providers, health plans, vendors, government agencies, consumers, not-for-profit organizations, and standards development organizations. To learn more, visit www.wedi.org and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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.

High Hopes, Unfulfilled Promise: Healthcare Organizations Looking Beyond Portals for True Patient Engagement, HIMSS Analytics Survey Finds

Not Content with ‘Checking the Box’ for Meaningful Use, Respondents Seek Engagement Strategies to Enhance Health of the Community, Build Patient Loyalty

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 6, 2015 (HIMSS Booth 961) — Healthcare organizations are embracing patient engagement through strategies and investments centered on patient portals, according to a new study on the state of patient engagement by HIMMS Analytics, a global research and analytics firm. However, healthcare leaders question whether their current trajectory will lead to the increased patient involvement required to improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs, the survey found.

Patient engagement is dominating healthcare headlines. To get beyond the buzz, HIMSS Analytics conducted a study on the state of patient engagement commitment and investment at healthcare organizations across the U.S. The research consisted of an online quantitative survey of executives from 114 healthcare organizations and a qualitative focus group that involved nine of these leaders.

An executive summary of the study will be available at HIMSS 2015, Chicago, April 13-15, at InterSystems Booth 961.

HIMSS Analytics defines patient engagement as “an organization’s strategy to get patients involved in actively and knowledgeably managing their own health and wellness and that of family members and others for whom they have responsibility. This includes reviewing and managing care records, learning about conditions, adopting healthy behaviors, making informed healthcare purchases, and interacting with care providers as a partner.”

The study, sponsored by InterSystems, found that the top drivers for patient engagement are to enhance and improve the health of the community (77 percent), the quest to build brand loyalty for patients (77 percent), and meeting meaningful use requirements (60 percent). However, these strategies might not be “fully baked,” according to the focus group participants. Indeed, some participants questioned their patient engagement plans.

“We don’t really have a true patient engagement strategy, just a portal project,” said one executive. Another chimed in to say, “We say we have a patient engagement strategy, but it is really just part of other strategies – wellness, health improvement, population health.”

Such comments are a cause for concern, according to Joe DeSantis, Vice President of HealthShare Platforms, InterSystems, who pointed out that while leaders say they have a strategy, they may be moving forward with only a tactical plan.

“Even if organizations have a vision for real patient engagement, many are consumed with checking the boxes for meaningful use,” DeSantis said. “Unfortunately, a patient portal based on a single EHR is not enough to move patient engagement forward. Engagement needs to span the entire care continuum. The short-term focus on meaningful use has often been at the expense of long-term strategic goals.”

Who Owns Patient Engagement?

Patient engagement initiatives often lack definitive leadership. According to the survey, multi-departmental/multi-role committees are the most common owners of an organization’s patient engagement strategy (26 percent). Other owners of the strategy include the chief marketing officers (15 percent), followed by chief information officers (10 percent) and CEOs (8 percent).

These strategy owners might not have the financial wherewithal to effectively move initiatives forward. The roadblock: Spending on patient engagement is spread across organizations – with information technology typically buying the tools, ambulatory departments paying for the costs for program administration, and marketing shelling out the money for promotions, positioning patient engagement as a brand loyalty strategy.

“I am coming to the conclusion that maybe we don’t actually have an organizational strategy around patient engagement if we have not set up a budget that owns all aspects of it,” said one of the surveyed executives.

Patient Engagement Tools

Even in the absence of a cohesive financial strategy, information technology departments are turning to patient portals as their go-to tool for patient engagement. Their reasons for adopting portals are varied: 71 percent of respondents who have an engagement strategy are using portal technology to meet current minimum meaningful use requirements for functionality and data sharing from a single source; 54 percent are using portals that offer a combination of patient services, technology and content; and 51 percent are using portals as a configurable, interoperable information exchange platform with data sharing from multiple sources. Overall, about two-thirds of these respondents are using portals provided by their electronic health record (EHR) vendors.

Not surprisingly, focus group participants expressed concerns about their portal solutions. “Most portals don’t really align well with the definition of patient engagement,” one leader said. “They are great for convenience, but they don’t actually help people manage chronic diseases, improve their health, or give them resources they need to move toward healthier behaviors. Most of the tools out there just don’t deliver on that promise.”

To fully engage patients, leaders are looking for next-generation portals to offer the functionality that will enable patients to become partners in their own care. More specifically, they are seeking functionality such as e-visits or e-consultations (80 percent), interoperability across multiple providers (70 percent), health evaluation and coaching (70 percent), and tele-visits (50 percent).

“Game-changing patient engagement will give patients timely, comprehensive information enabling them to partner with their care providers – and to truly manage their health,” DeSantis concluded.

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.

About InterSystems
InterSystems develops advanced software technologies that enable breakthroughs. With a passion for excellence and a focus on client success, InterSystems provides data management, strategic interoperability, and analytics platforms used in healthcare, financial services, government, and dozens of other industries. InterSystems also offers unified healthcare applications, based on its core technologies, that deliver on the promise of connected healthcare. Founded in 1978, InterSystems is a privately held company headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), with offices worldwide. Its products are used daily by millions of people in more than 100 countries.  Visit InterSystems.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.

Vocera Expands Clinical Integrations With Electronic Health Records (Epic)

SAN JOSE, Calif., April 2, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Vocera Communications, Inc. (NYSE:VCRA), the leading provider of intelligent, real-time communication and collaboration solutions for mission-critical mobile environments, announced today the introduction of enhanced functionality that enables interactive communications between Electronic Health Record systems (EHR) and the Vocera Communication System. Vocera is pleased to announce compatibility of this new Vocera functionality with Epic’s EHR software. This will be the first of several two-way clinical integrations with EHRs, and furthers Vocera’s commitment to increasing the level of connectivity between the company’s award-winning communication system and clinical systems.

“Real-time communication and collaboration requires robust, two-way integrations between EHRs, clinical systems, and our communication platform,” said Brent Lang, CEO of Vocera. “Our unique capabilities and on-going roadmap of integrations between EHRs and Vocera solutions accelerate our customers’ ability to deliver better care.”

As a result, Vocera worked with Epic to collaborate on a two-way integration for environmental services. This functionality makes it even easier for housekeepers to provide real-time updates for bed cleaning status and availability, therefore improving patient flow. This innovative technology enables housekeepers to use voice commands on their Vocera device to respond to messages from the EHR in order to update their work status, while also providing time-based data needed for ongoing staff efficiency and workflow performance.

For team members, this new functionality from Vocera will simplify the user’s experience and increase the likelihood of more timely updates to the bed management system while providing better visibility for management and helping improve the patient experience. Vocera aims to make these new solutions available for use with a variety of additional EHR providers and additional workflows as customer demand grows.

The company also added the ability to access the Vocera Collaboration Suite directly from the EHR desktop and mobile applications. This maintains communication capabilities with the care team and saves valuable time by reducing the need to manually switch between applications to contact other members of the care team.

To learn more, please visit us in Booth #2012 at the 2015 HIMSS Conference in Chicago from April 12-16, or go to www.vocera.com for more information.

About Vocera

Vocera Communications, Inc. [NYSE:VCRA] empowers teams through intelligent, real-time communication and collaboration in healthcare, hospitality, energy, and other mission-critical mobile environments. Widely recognized for developing smarter ways to communicate, Vocera offers enterprise-class technologies that enable collaboration for mobile teams on their device of choice. Vocera solutions are installed in more than 1,200 organizations worldwide, improving efficiency, quality, safety and outcomes while creating optimal working and healing environments. Via the company’s research collaborative, the Experience Innovation Network, Vocera also drives thought leadership for the healthcare industry and new standards in care delivery to elevate patient, family, nurse and physician experiences. Vocera is headquartered in San Jose, California, with offices in San Francisco, Tennessee, Canada, India, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit www.vocera.com and @VoceraComm on Twitter.

April 3, 2015 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.

Sanford Health and Intelligent InSites Develop Bi-directional RTLS-EMR Integration

InSites Operational Intelligence Helps Increase Efficiency and Streamline Care at Sanford Health

April 2, 2015

Sanford Health and Intelligent InSites, in collaboration with Epic, have released a bi-directional integration between “OneChart,” (Sanford Health’s implementation of EpicCare EMR) and the InSites RTLS-based operational intelligence platform. This integration increases interoperability and efficiency while streamlining patient care and staff work flow.

The first of many use cases this integration enables and that Sanford Health will use at their Moorhead Clinic facility, involve patient check-in and exit. During registration, information about the Sonitor Sense Real Time Location System (RTLS) tags that patients are given is entered into the EMR system, and then automatically is sent to InSites along with basic patient demographic information. At the conclusion of a visit, the patient’s badge is placed in a designated area, which automatically disassociates it from the patient’s record.

“This is all about improving the experience not only for our patients but also for our staff,” said Meghan Goldammer, Vice President of Clinic Operations at Sanford Health. “Because data now can flow both ways between these two critical systems, staff will no longer need to switch back and forth between them or enter information in two places. Fewer keystrokes for staff means less waiting time and more care time for patients.”

“We’re thrilled to deliver this important integration together with Sanford,” said Shane Waslaski, President and CEO of Intelligent InSites. “We’ve seen greater demand for increased interoperability between EMR and RTLS operational intelligence systems because it enhances the value of both through increased efficiency, context, and decision-support.”

The integration also provides the ability for patient location and duration data to automatically flow to the EMR at various stages of the patient visit. Sanford staff will use this capability as more InSites use cases come on board across the health system.

This integration is part of a long-term partnership between Sanford Health and Intelligent InSites with the goal of co-developing innovative solutions to further transform patient and staff experiences. Sanford Health’s implementation of Intelligent InSites takes in real-time location data from tags and location transmitters provided by Sonitor Technologies, and interprets it into helpful intelligence in the form of tasks and notifications, visualized locations of people and equipment, and in-depth analytics and reporting.

About Sanford Health (http://www.sanfordhealth.org)
Sanford Health is an integrated health system headquartered in the Dakotas. It is the largest, rural, not-for-profit health care system in the nation with 43 hospitals and 243 clinics in nine states and three countries. With 27,000 employees, including 1,400 physicians in more than 80 specialty areas of medicine, Sanford Health is the largest employer in the Dakotas. Nearly $1 billion in gifts from philanthropist Denny Sanford have allowed for several initiatives, including global children’s clinics, genomic medicine and specialized centers researching cures for type 1 diabetes, breast cancer and other diseases.

About Intelligent InSites (http://www.intelligentinsites.com)
Intelligent InSites helps transform healthcare with real-time operational intelligence that improves care, enhances the human experience, and increases efficiency. Through its open, real-time technology platform, Intelligent InSites automatically collects and processes data from multiple data sources such as EHRs, financial systems, building systems, sensory and real-time location systems (RTLS), mobility solutions, and other healthcare IT solutions–then provides actionable intelligence to achieve cost savings, operational excellence, and better care. By utilizing the enterprise-wide architecture of the InSites platform, healthcare systems can leverage all legacy, current, and future data sources to optimize their technology investments across the entire organization, then have the flexibility to meet changing organizational, regulatory, and compliance needs.

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.

e-MDs Merges with MDeverywhere; Creates Market-Leading Provider of Clinical and RCM Software Solutions

LOS ANGELES, March 31, 2015 /PRNewswire/ – e-MDs, a leading provider of ambulatory electronic medical record (EMR) and practice management (PM) solutions, today announced that it has been acquired by Marlin Equity Partners (“Marlin”), a global investment firm with over $3 billion in capital under management. Following the acquisition, e-MDs has been merged with MDeverywhere, an existing Marlin portfolio company and leading provider of revenue cycle management (RCM) services and credentialing for physicians. The acquisition and merger bring together two ambulatory focused companies that now provide a complete and integrated suite of financial, administrative and clinical solutions, including a full service RCM offering. The combined company’s award-winning products are used by over 13,000 providers and 50,000 medical professionals across more than 40 medical specialties.

e-MDs’ Founder and CEO, David Winn, who will be retiring, stated, “e-MDs and MDeverywhere, together as one company, is well positioned to accomplish great things.  As a much larger company, we will have the depth and breadth to continue offering market-leading ambulatory technology and the expertise to tackle the increasingly complex government regulations that have been such a challenge to the healthcare industry.  I leave with the confidence that our customers are in good hands.”

Ann Bilyew, CEO of MDeverywhere, added, “The combination of e-MDs’ PM and EMR platform with our cloud-based end-to-end revenue cycle management service creates a truly comprehensive offering.  We are very excited about this new venture which significantly improves our current product offering and helps us accelerate and drive future growth.”

Jim Brady, a healthcare operating executive to Marlin, who will serve as the interim CEO of the combined business, commented, “I look forward to working with the teams at both companies to serve the needs of our physician customers across the country.  The ability to bring together e-MDs’ top-ranked PM and EMR platform with MDeverywhere’s RCM solution further enhances the company’s ability to meet the needs of physicians and other clinicians who are facing continuing challenges and uncertainty within healthcare today.”

About e-MDs

e-MDs is a leading developer of integrated electronic health records and practice management software for physician practices and enterprises. Founded and actively managed by physicians, the company is an industry leader for usable, connected software that enables physician productivity and a superior clinical experience. e-MDs software has received continual top rankings in physician and industry surveys including those conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Family Practice Management, AmericanEHR™ Partners, MedScape®, and Black Book®. e-MDs has a proven track record of positioning clients for success as demonstrated by Meaningful Use attainment in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. According to data provided by CMS, e-MDs clients are attesting in the top proportion of all major vendors. For more information, please visit http://www.e-mds.com, http://facebook.e-mds.com and https://twitter.com/emds.

About MDeverywhere

MDeverywhere is a leading provider of revenue cycle management (RCM), electronic medical record and credentialing services to physicians.  The company’s RCM solution includes ICD-10 ready, purpose-built, cloud-based practice management software, coding rules engines, contract monitoring tools and full-scope claims management and back-office services, that are proven to streamline workflow, decrease denials and increase revenue.  Founded in 1995, MDeverywhere currently serves over 7,000 physicians nationwide, including solo practices, group practices, large faculty practices, and hospitals across over 40 different specialties.  For more information visit www.mdeverywhere.com.

March 31, 2015 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.

Amazing Charts Eases Physician Transition to ICD-10 Coding With User-Friendly Technology and Free Education

Input of Common Medical Terms Is Mapped to ICD-10 Codes for Industry-Leading Ease of Use

BOSTON, MA–(Marketwired – March 31, 2015) – Amazing Charts, a leading provider of Electronic Health Record (EHR) and Practice Management (PM) systems for ambulatory care, today introduced a comprehensive product solution and free educational resources to address the Oct.1, 2015 transition to ICD-10. Amazing Charts EHR Version 8.2 will allow physicians to use clinically relevant terms to accurately and efficiently find ICD-10 codes.

ICD-10 coding in Amazing Charts begins when a physician types a symptom or diagnosis using common medical terms — such as abdominal pain, diabetes, or fracture — and then selects a clinical description with a code from a dropdown menu, or chooses to further refine the search. Words can be entered in any order, and common abbreviations and partial words are recognized. Physicians are presented with a set of ICD-10 codes highlighted in different colors to show which codes are billable. Behind the scenes, SNOMED Clinical Terms (CT) are mapped to ICD-10 codes in compliance with interoperability standards. Additionally, ICD-9 codes can be accessed for billing (or rebilling) encounters created prior to the Oct. 1, 2015 deadline.

Preparing physicians to code to the highest level of specificity promotes improved patient care and expedites reimbursement to optimize revenue. Amazing Charts offers physicians a series of free online educational resources — including blogs, how-to tutorials, live webinars, and videos — focused on the transition to ICD-10, coding, and clinical documentation improvement.

“We want to help our users move to ICD-10 well in advance of the October deadline to ensure no interruption in payments for services,” said John Squire, president and COO, Amazing Charts. “In keeping with our core tenets of usability and affordability, we designed our products to provide real assistance to physicians as they make the transition to ICD-10 coding, and the ICD-10 upgrade and online education is free to all practices on support. Amazing Charts Practice Management is also ICD-10 ready.”

About Amazing Charts

Amazing Charts provides Electronic Health Records (EHR/EMR), Practice Management, and other Health IT solutions to healthcare practices. Based on number one user ratings for usability, fair pricing, and overall satisfaction, Amazing Charts EHR has been adopted by more than 10,000 clinicians in over 6,800 private practices. Founded in 2001 by a family physician, today Amazing Charts, LLC operates as a subsidiary of Pri‐Med, an operating division of Diversified Communications (DC) and a trusted source for professional medical education to over 260,000 clinicians since 1995. For more information, visit: www.amazingcharts.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.

U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Hear Challenge to Affordable Care Act’s Independent Payment Advisory Board at This Time

Goldwater Institute will renew challenge to price-setting board when it makes its first decisions

Washington, D.C.—Today the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would not hear a Goldwater Institute challenge to the Independent Payment Advisory Board created by the Affordable Care Act.

“This case is not dead; we’re simply in a holding pattern,” said Christina Sandefur, a senior attorney at the Goldwater Institute. “We will bring this challenge again once the Independent Payment Advisory Board takes action.”

The Independent Payment Advisory Board is a 15-member board created to set reimbursement rates for Medicare. In reality, it has the power to govern decisions about public and private health care, and to determine which procedures, treatments and drugs will and will not be covered by the government programs that pay for the medical treatment of more than 48 million Americans. IPAB’s decisions automatically become law and cannot be challenged in court. The ACA was written so that the Board cannot be repealed without an unprecedented congressional supermajority, and only during a short window in 2017.

These features are unique to the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Never in American history has another board been created with such broad authority to make law without Congress’s vote or the president’s signature, and that cannot be challenged in court or repealed.

This consolidation of power into one unelected agency was the main aspect of the Goldwater Institute’s challenge. But because the Board has not yet been appointed, or made any decisions, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals said the case was not ripe for review at this time.  Today, the Supreme Court did not disturb that ruling.

According to the ACA, as long as IPAB remains unstaffed, the Secretary of Health and Human Services wields the Board’s vast powers alone. And while the Board must act when Medicare costs rise higher than a designated percentage of inflation in a single year, nothing stops it from taking whatever action its members consider to be “related to the Medicare program.”

“We are disappointed we have to wait to bring this challenge before the Court—Americans are subject to IPAB’s limitless decision-making with no recourse,” said Sandefur. “Because the Board is completely insulted from constitutional checks and balances, without Supreme Court action now, it may be too late to decide the case later.”

Congressman Phil Roe (R-TN) has introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board. His bill has received dozens of co-sponsors, including several Democrats. Former Congressman Barney Frank (D-NY) has been a vocal critic of the Independent Payment Advisory Board and has also called for its repeal. Twenty-five members of Congress filed an amicus brief asking the Court to hear the Goldwater Institute challenge to IPAB.

Read more about Coons v. Lew here.

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About the Goldwater Institute

The Goldwater Institute drives results by working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and strengthen the freedom guaranteed to all Americans in the constitutions of the United States and all 50 states. With the blessing of its namesake, the Goldwater Institute opened in 1988. Its early years focused on defending liberty in Barry Goldwater’s home state of Arizona. Today, the Goldwater Institute is a national leader for constitutionally limited government respected by the left and right for its adherence to principle and real world impact. No less a liberal icon than the New York Times calls the Goldwater Institute a “watchdog for conservative ideals” that plays an “outsize role” in American political life.

March 30, 2015 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.