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HIMSS Submits Comments on CMS Meaningful Use Stage 3; 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria

Focused on better health through the best use of information technology, HIMSS points to critical components of the draft regulations and suggests improvements to advance the secure and consistent digital exchange of patient health information.      

Arlington, VA (May 29, 2015) – On Thursday, May 28, HIMSS submitted comments to the Department of Health and Human Services on  the Meaningful Use Stage 3 proposed rule and the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria.  The two letters, sent to Acting CMS Administrator, Andrew Slavitt, and National Coordinator for Health IT, Dr. Karen DeSalvo, respectively, strongly urge CMS and ONC to:

  • Decrease the prescriptive nature of the EHR Incentive program,
  • Increase focus on the substantial capabilities established earlier in the program, and
  • Reduce complexity in the 2015 Certification Criteria.

HIMSS voiced its continued support for the Meaningful Use Program as a tool to positively transform health and healthcare in the United States. Identifying meaningful use as a “critical tool for enabling healthcare transformation,” the response cites HIMSS Analytics data – collected annually on all non-federal US hospitals, and more than 30,000 tethered US ambulatory facilities – that “70% of hospitals have made a positive progression in the advancement of their EHR capabilities over the last five years, with over 60% of ambulatory facilities showing similar progress in the last three years.”

HIMSS reiterated its long-standing commitment to interoperability:  “HIMSS is committed to a culture in which IT is fundamental to transforming healthcare; improving quality of care, enhancing the patient experience, containing cost, improving access to care, and optimizing effectiveness of public payment.”

The full comments on HIMSS response to the CMS Meaningful Use Stage 3include:

  • HIMSS remains strongly committed to making the Electronic Health Record Incentive program less prescriptive and more focused on encouraging and assisting providers to take advantage of the substantial capabilities established in Meaningful Use Stages 1 and 2, including interoperability.
  • HIMSS applauds a proposal in the NPRM for a single definition of Meaningful Use starting in calendar year 2018, no matter when a provider began to participate in the EHR Incentive Program.
  • HIMSS supports the work being done by CMS to align the EHR Incentive Program with other CMS quality reporting programs that also use certified health IT.  HIMSS believes such efforts will lessen the burden on providers.
  • HIMSS is committed to ensuring patient safety remains paramount to the development, implementation, and wide-spread use of health IT systems.
  • HIMSS reiterates its long-standing assertion that 18 months is the minimum length of time needed between the final rules on Meaningful Use, certification, and standards, and the start of any stage of Meaningful Use.  An 18-month timeline allows stakeholders to help educate and prepare providers on the upcoming new stage.  The current timeline for transitioning to Meaningful Use, Stage 3 in 2017 and 2018 does not include 18 months.

The full HIMSS comments  on the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria include:

  • ONC must address the overall complexity of the 2015 Edition Certification Rule by reducing the total number of criterion, as well as the standards and functionalities included.
  • HIMSS acknowledges that ONC and CMS attempted to reduce the complexity of the requirements for the 2015 edition certification criteria and Meaningful Use Stage 3 in their respective NPRMs for this cycle.  However, given all the new requirements included in this NPRM, HIMSS urges ONC to reconsider the requirements needed for the 2015 edition certification criteria and consider approaches to minimize and simplify the options presented.
  • HIMSS remains cautiously supportive of ONC’s efforts to establish innovative certification and testing programs that utilize health IT.  Certification in support of a Learning Health System must be specific, carefully planned, focused on the areas that have the greatest impact on interoperability, and closely aligned with programmatic goals.
  • ONC or another agency should establish the programmatic goals before commencing with any certification program associated with the effort.  It is important that certification criteria be closely evaluated and aligned with the functionalities necessary to meet the goals of the program in question as the move continues beyond EHR-specific certification.
  • HIMSS supports greater harmonization and alignment across the programs covered by certification.
  • HIMSS supports the idea of including the level of adoption and maturity among standards as an important consideration when evaluating inclusions for certification programs.

HIMSS will continue to monitor the progress on CMS Meaningful Use Stage 3 program and the 2015 Edition Health IT Certification Criteria. Look for updated information at the Policy Center on the HIMSS website. 

About HIMSS

HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology.

HIMSS is a cause-based, global enterprise producing health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world. Founded in 1961, HIMSS encompasses more than 58,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 640 corporations and 400 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share this cause.  HIMSS, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

May 29, 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.

Ambir Technology Introduces Innovative Solutions for Capturing and Harnessing Patient Information at HIMSS15 Annual Conference & Exhibition

Chicago, April 9, 2015—Ambir Technology, an industry leader in digital capture and document management solutions, introduces new solutions at HIMSS15 Annual Conference & Exhibition April 12-April 16 in Chicago for capturing, transferring and managing patient information. Visitors to the Ambir Technology booth (number 2819) will see demonstrations on how the new solutions can impact operational efficiency and productivity.

“Helping healthcare providers efficiently capture and manage patient information is a cornerstone of Ambir Technology’s product development,” said Mike O’Leary, CEO of Ambir Technology. “Today, our signature pads, ID card scanners and document scanners assist many practices in capturing information. At HIMSS 2015, we are introducing new, innovative solutions to push the envelope in regard to patient information capture, transfer and management, boosting office operational efficiency and productivity in meeting Meaningful Use Requirements.”

Ambir nForm  Ambir nForm solution enables totally paperless, convenient and secure capture and transfer of forms and signatures through the Ambir 410x wired tablet and iOS or Android tablets.

The groundbreaking tablet-based solution is available immediately as a yearly subscription. In addition, Ambir introduces Ambir nForm 410x. This dedicated tablet features a larger screen area than signature pads currently on the market.

nForm is easy to use and practices can use existing forms—no requirement to purchase special or customized forms.

Users simply send forms and documents to the Ambir 410x, iOS or Android tablet using the Ambir Document Printer print driver or through nForm Connect (to which users can upload and save their own forms), input information and upload the forms using their scanning application or as a PDF file to their information management solution. There is zero integration needed to use nForm with commercially available EHR or document management applications as it employs nForm by Ambir Technology TWAIN driver known for its plug-and-play ability.

New Generation Sheet-Fed Document and Card Scanners Ambir’s new generation scanners open new doors in operational ease, maintenance, and provide real time solutions for capturing and organizing information by doing more at capture—in office and mobile applications.

The new scanners consist of four models:

  • Ambir ImageScan Pro 490 ix Scanner is a duplex document and card scanner. It scans both sides of a document in about 10 seconds.
  • Ambir ImageScan Pro 687ix Scanner is a duplex card scanner for scanning two-sided identification cards, scanning both sides of a card in approximately 3 seconds.
  • Ambir ImageScan Pro 667ix Scanner is a simplex card scanner for scanning one side of an identification card in about 3 seconds.
  • Ambir TravelScan Pro 600ix Scanner is a simplex document and card scanner designed for mobility and speed. It scans one side of a document in approximately 10 seconds.

The scanners come with AmbirScan Lite Capture Software, elevating document and ID card scanning to a true information capture and management solution by enabling users to save scanned information as PDF, TIF and JPEG files, automatically saving the files to any folder on a computer and/or popular cloud services including Box, DropBox, Evernote and Google Drive.

Having one button operation, the scanners are easy to use.

All are USB port-powered, eliminating the need to find an electrical outlet or carry an AC adapter and enhancing the ability to work wherever and anywhere. They are Energy Star compliant.

Featuring lightweight, compact designs, the scanners are ruggedly constructed for continuous use. In addition, all models have a Kensington Lock Slot to keep them securely on desks or mobile carts. The scanners feature flip-open tops to give unrivaled access for thorough and quick cleaning of the transport area.

All are factory calibrated, requiring no calibration upon installation providing high-quality image quality right out of the box —simply plug in the scanner, install the drivers and start scanning.

The scanners have industry standard TWAIN drivers to provide quick installation and compatibility with thousands of commercially available electronic healthcare record solutions.

For information about Ambir Technology products and solutions, access www.ambir.com.          

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About Ambir Technology

Ambir Technology, Inc. is an industry leader in digital capture and document management solutions. Combining professional-grade ID card and document scanners, unique digital imaging software and expert-level customer service, Ambir provides their customers with comprehensive, enterprise-level business solutions. Specializing in the healthcare, legal and financial sectors, Ambir helps organizations reduce costs, increase productivity and strengthen data security. For more information, visit www.ambir.com.

April 9, 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.

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.

HIMSS Analytics Honors Sutter Health with Stage 7 Award and Associated Clinics with Stage 7 Ambulatory Awards

CHICAGO (March 3, 2015) – HIMSS Analytics awarded Sutter Health’s Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, Calif. with a  Stage 7 Award, and its Palo Alto Medical Foundation clinics throughout the Bay Area with Stage 7 Ambulatory Awards.

Stage 7 Award: HIMSS Analytics developed the EMR Adoption Model in 2005 as a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems for hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics™ Database. There are eight stages (0-7) that measure a hospital’s implementation and utilization of information technology applications. The final stage, Stage 7, represents an advanced patient record environment. The validation process to confirm a hospital has reached Stage 7 includes a site visit by an executive from HIMSS Analytics and former or current chief information officers to ensure an unbiased evaluation of the Stage 7 environments.

Stage 7 Ambulatory Award: Developed in 2011, the EMR Ambulatory Adoption Model provides a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems for ambulatory facilities owned by hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics™ Database.  These facilities include physician practices, clinics, outpatient centers and specialty clinics. Tracking their progress in completing eight stages (0-7), ambulatory facilities can review the implementation and use of IT applications with the intent of reaching Stage 7, which represents an advanced electronic patient record environment.

During the fourth quarter of 2014, only 3.6 percent of the more than 5,400 U.S. hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics® Database received the Stage 7 Award, and only 6.21  percent of the more than 30,000 ambulatory clinics in the HIMSS Analytics® Database received the Stage 7 Ambulatory Award.

“This Stage 7 recognition from HIMSS Analytics serves as testament to the hard work and commitment of our dedicated physicians, nurses, clinicians, allied health professionals and information services staff.  It is both acknowledgement and validation of our continuing commitment to provide the safest, highest quality care and comfort to those we serve,” said Jon Manis, senior vice president and chief information officer, Sutter Health.

Serving patients and their families in more than 100 Northern California cities and towns, Sutter Health doctors, not-for-profit hospitals and other health care service providers share resources and expertise to advance health care quality and access. The Sutter Medical Network includes many of California’s top-performing, highest-quality physician organizations as measured annually by the Integrated Healthcare Association. Sutter-affiliated hospitals are regional leaders in cardiac care, women’s and children’s services, cancer care, orthopedics and advanced patient-safety technology.

“Sutter Health’s EHR implementation is a star example for California and the west coast. The health care network expertly involves its medical staff to drive clinical transformation across its hospitals and care centers—all enabled by a comprehensive EHR system. Its care centers consistently use the EHR technology, showing strong system governance and well-delivered education,” said John P. Hoyt, FACHE, FHIMSS, executive vice president, HIMSS Analytics.

Sutter Health will be recognized at the 2015 Annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition on April 12-16, 2015, in Chicago, Ill.

Visit the HIMSS Analytics web site for more information on the Stage 7 award and Stage 7 Ambulatory Award.

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.

HIMSS Analytics is a part of HIMSS, a cause-based, global enterprise that produces health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world. Founded in 1961, HIMSS encompasses more than 52,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 600 corporations and 250 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share the cause of transforming health and healthcare through the best use of IT.  HIMSS, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

March 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.

Healthcare Leaders Praise Reintroduction of the Flex-IT Act

Strong, Bipartisan Support for Increasing Meaningful Use Flexibility

ANN ARBOR, MI, January 12, 2015 – Healthcare leaders praised the reintroduction of the Flexibility in Health IT Reporting (Flex-IT) Act of 2015, a bipartisan bill granting the nation’s healthcare providers additional flexibility in meeting Meaningful Use (MU) requirements through a shortened reporting period in 2015. Swift action by Congress is needed to help providers already in the 2015 reporting year for Meaningful Use, several healthcare organizations said today.

Officials from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), American Hospital Association (AHA), American Medical Association (AMA), College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), Healthcare Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) applaud the leadership shown by bill sponsor Representative Renee Ellmers (R-NC-02) and a bipartisan list of original cosponsors, including Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07), Ron Kind (D-WI-03), Glenn Thompson (R-PA-05) and David Scott (D-GA-13).

“We commend the leadership demonstrated by a bipartisan group of House Members on this critically important issue,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO. “With such across-the-isle support, Congress has underscored how fundamental this program is to the future of healthcare in the U.S.

“While CHIME remains committed to the success of Meaningful Use, and to making sure improved patient care is the program’s lasting legacy, we believe significant changes are needed to address increased dissatisfaction with EHRs and growing disenchantment with the program,” Branzell added. “This bill, if passed, would begin that much-needed course correction.”

The Flex-IT Act was introduced in September 2014, following a national joint call to action last year. The new Flex-IT Act of 2015 would adjust the Meaningful Use reporting timeline, giving providers the option to choose any three-month quarter for EHR reporting in 2015.

“America’s hospitals are strongly committed to the adoption of EHRs, because of their potential to increase the quality of care and reduce costs for patients,” said Rick Pollack, Executive Vice President of the American Hospital Association. “The health care field is faced with many major challenges and changes, all hitting at the same time. We need to be practical and responsible in terms of implementation timetables. That’s why hospitals need flexibility. This legislation is a positive first step toward ensuring the program is a success, and America’s hospitals look forward to working to achieve its passage.”

“Our nation needs a more efficient, cost-effective and patient-centered healthcare system. HIMSS applauds the efforts taken by these Congressional leaders and fully supports the Flexibility in Health IT Reporting (Flex-IT) Act of 2015 as essential to giving providers and hospitals a realistic chance to meet the 2015 Meaningful Use requirements,” said Carla Smith, MA, CNM, FHIMSS, Executive Vice President, HIMSS North America

According to the latest data available from the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS), more than one-third of hospitals expected to demonstrate Stage 2 Meaningful Use in 2014 had to file for a hardship exception or meet Stage 1 requirements again. In 2015, CMS data indicate more than 3,900 hospitals and 260,000 physicians will have to meet Stage 2 requirements. However, CHIME estimates that more than half of these EHs will likely seek further hardship exceptions or face penalties in 2015. And with CMS estimating that more than 257,000 EPs will receive penalties in 2015, the likelihood of robust physician participation is doubtful.

“We greatly appreciate the willingness of this bipartisan group of legislators to address this critical issue,” stated Anders Gilberg, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, for the Medical Group Management Association. “Stage 2 of Meaningful Use has proven extremely challenging and, absent this reporting flexibility, a significant number of physicians will be unable to participate in the program and unfairly penalized. Passage of the Flex-IT Act is a critical step to allow physician practices to continue down the pathway of effective adoption and use of EHR technology,” added Gilberg.

“We are pleased with renewed efforts to provide greater flexibility in the Meaningful Use program and hope that this is the first of several steps to make the program work better for physicians and other providers so that the full potential of these technologies to improve care and value can be realized,” said American Medical Association President-Elect Steven J. Stack, MD.

In October 2014, the AMA unveiled their Meaningful Use blueprint, outlining several recommendations meant to improve participation in the EHR Incentive program. Among the high-level recommendations, AMA officials urged that policymakers adopt a more flexible approach for meeting Meaningful Use to allow more physicians to successfully participate; better aligning quality measure requirements including reducing the reporting burden on physicians and helping relieve them from overlapping penalties; and restructure EHR certification to focus on key areas like interoperability.

“As some of the earliest adopters of certified electronic health records technology, family physicians have demonstrated their belief that interoperable EHR – like primary care itself – is an essential component of a higher-quality, lower-cost health system,” said Robert Wergin, MD, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “However, as family medicine continues to do its part in building the EHR infrastructure – a massive undertaking – CMS should not set benchmarks so high that it discourages participation in the program. We applaud Reps. Ellmers and Kind for introducing the Flexibility in Health IT Reporting Act, which will allow eligible physicians to achieve Meaningful Use of EHR by reporting for a three-month period in 2015. The American Academy of Family Physicians believes this flexibility will help physicians stay on track in building an EHR system that works.”

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.chimecentral.org.

January 12, 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.

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.

For HIE Staffing, Connectivity, Data Integrity and Data Integration Positions Difficult to Fill

CHICAGO (November 4, 2014) – As health information organizations (HIOs) continue to mature and evolve, current staffing requirements must be studied to recruit and maintain professional talent.

This is the finding of a new study jointly published by the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and HIMSS, “Trends in HIE Organizational Staffing: A Deeper Look at Staffing Challenges.”  Survey participants offered insight into hiring practices for key health IT and health information management (HIM) roles within health information organizations (HIOs).

“As healthcare organizations become increasingly interconnected through health information exchange, it’s important for the industry to understand how to operate health information exchanges for best results,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “This survey will provide valuable insights for those who work in organizations that benefit from sharing health information.”

The 2014 survey focused on three types of positions–related to issues of connectivity, data integrity, and data integration–that were identified as difficult positions to fill.  Key findings from the survey include:

•Growing diversity and range of participants such as payers, behavioral health centers, nursing homes and accountable care organizations
•A shift away from HIOs existing as public entities and toward public/private organizations
•The three focus areas of connectivity, data integrity and data integration can refer to a wide range of job titles and responsibilities across HIO operations
• Some job titles are fluid across two roles such as Database Administrator, Interface Engineer and Project or Implementation Manager
• Education requirements for these roles were generally at the bachelor’s or master’s degree levels, with preference for Computer Science, Health IT, Telecommunications or HIPAA/Security concentrations
• Compensation for the three roles targeted in the 2014 survey was slightly higher than the salary ranges identified for all IT roles in the 2012 survey
• The top ongoing challenges in staffing include cost of living and location of HIO; industry competition for qualified candidates; competitive salary and benefits; and finding individuals with appropriate skill sets.  The HIE organization positions reported to have the highest rates of turnover were Data Administrator, HIE Implementation Manager, HIE Project Manager and Physician Liaison
• Respondents continue to use a combination of staffing approaches ranging from full-time and part-time employees to consultants and contractors
• Referrals are still the primary method for identifying HIE technology candidates, though additional sources such as external searches, recruiting firms and industry conferences or events were referenced by several participants
 
“With the continuous demand for qualified employees in healthcare settings, this updated research can help guide hiring managers and educate potential candidates interested in careers focused on connectivity, data integrity and data integration in an HIE setting,” said Carla Smith, MA, CNM, FHIMSS, Executive Vice President, HIMSS North America.  “The research also may lead professionals in healthcare or other fields to consider a career path in health IT based on current needs in the marketplace.”
 

Access the 2014 report through HIMSS and AHIMA.  For additional discussion on this topic, join the conversation in the HIMSS LinkedIn group and the AHIMA LinkedIn group.

The report is a follow-up to a 2012 survey also jointly published by AHIMA and HIMSS, “Trends in HIE Organizational Staffing: AHIMA/HIMSS Staffing Model Environmental Scan.”

Learn more about the research on the HIMSS Blog with a post from HIMSS and AHIMA.

About AHIMA

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) represents more than 71,000 educated health information management and health informatics professionals in the United States and around the world. AHIMA is committed to promoting and advocating for high quality research, best practices and effective standards in health information and to actively contributing to the development and advancement of health information professionals worldwide. AHIMA’s enduring goal is quality healthcare through quality information.www.ahima.org

About HIMSS

HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology. HIMSS is a cause-based, global enterprise producing health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world. Founded in 1961, HIMSS encompasses more than 52,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 600 corporations and 250 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share this cause. HIMSS, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

November 4, 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.

Disappointing Meaningful Use Data Prompts Industry Leaders to Urge HHS to Take Immediate Action

WASHINGTON, DC November 4, 2014 –  Healthcare leaders from across the nation today renewed calls for the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) to shorten the Meaningful Use (MU) reporting period in 2015 and provide more program flexibility, citing concerns with lower-than-expected Medicare numbers and continued reports detailing nationwide difficulty in meeting Federal guidelines for electronic health records (EHR) requirements.

According to newly released CMS numbers, less than 17 percent of the nation’s hospitals have demonstrated Stage 2 capabilities. Further, less than 38 percent of eligible hospitals (EHs) and critical access hospitals (CAHs) have met either Stage of Meaningful Use in 2014, highlighting the difficulty of program requirements and foretelling continued struggles in 2015.  And while eligible professionals (EPs) have until the end of February to report their progress, only 2 percent have demonstrated Stage 2 capabilities thus far.

Officials from the American Medical Association (AMA), College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME), Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) and Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) called the results disappointing, yet predictable.

“Meaningful Use participation data released today have validated the concerns of providers and IT leaders.  These numbers continue to underscore the need for a sensible glide-path in 2015,” said CHIME President and CEO Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME, CHCIO.  “Providers have struggled mightily in 2014, in many instances for reasons beyond their control.  If nothing is done to help them get back on track in 2015, we will continue to see growing dissatisfaction with EHRs and disenchantment with Meaningful Use.”

CMS data required by Congress indicate that more than 3,900 hospitals must meet Stage 2 measures and objectives in 2015 and more than 260,000 eligible professionals (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, but likely unable to fulfill, Stage 2 for a full 365-days in 2015, healthcare leaders have pressed for a shortened reporting period in 2015, mirroring the policy of 2014.

“The low number of EP attestations to date is clear evidence that physician practices and their vendor partners have faced significant challenges in meeting the more onerous Stage 2 requirements of meaningful use,” said Anders M. Gilberg, Senior Vice President, government affairs, MGMA. “Shortening the reporting period in 2015 is a much needed change if the program is to remain viable and is a critical step if the nation is to continue making progress toward the goal of interoperability.”

“We’re focused on transforming health and healthcare,” said Carla Smith, MA, CNM, FHIMSS, Executive Vice President of HIMSS.  “Meaningful Use Stage 2 and 2014 certified EHR technology are important drivers toward that outcome.  If CMS continues to require a full-year of Meaningful Use reporting for 2015, we anticipate that large segments of providers will no longer be able to participate in the program-which hinders our nation’s ability to improve the quality, safety, cost-effectiveness, and access to care.”

A coalition of national provider groups have repeatedly told CMS that a shortened reporting period will have a dramatically positive effect on program participation and policy outcomes sought in 2015.  Additionally, allowing flexibility in how providers meet the Stage 2 requirements, particularly related to Transitions of Care and View, Download, Transmit measures would also improve program participation.

“In addition to a shortened reporting period, CMS must end its one-size-fits all approach to achieve the goals of the Meaningful Use program, which are to create a secure and interoperable infrastructure,” said AMA President Elect Steven J. Stack, MD. “The AMA recently released a blueprint to outline ways to improve the Meaningful Use program, as well as a framework outlining eight priorities for more usable EHRs. We believe the stringent pass fail requirements for meeting Meaningful Use, combined with a tsunami of other overlapping regulations, are keeping physicians from participating in the Meaningful Use program.”

In response to a CMS final rule issued in September, provider groups sent a letter to Health and Human Service Secretary Burwell saying additional time would help hundreds of thousands of providers meet Stage 2 requirements in an effective and safe manner.  Further, the group of nearly twenty national provider organizations said a shortened reporting period and flexibility on the Transitions of Care and View, Download, Transmit measures would serve as positive incentive for those who must seek alternative paths to MU in 2014 to continue their work in 2015.

“The agency’s decision to require a full-year of reporting using 2014 Edition certified EHR technology (CEHRT) in 2015 puts many eligible hospitals and physicians at risk of not meeting Meaningful Use next year and hinders the forward trajectory of the program,” the letter states.

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.

Defining the Business Case for Interoperability and Health Information Exchange

CHICAGO (September 9, 2014) – Even with many competitors within an industry, it is in the interest of all industry participants to have a core culture of functionality that is interoperable. With this philosophy in mind, The Business Case for Interoperability and Health Information Exchange sets the transformational stage for healthcare reform with a strong connection between health information exchange and interoperable exchange of patient health data.
The newer model of sustainability would be supported by a realignment of financial and policy incentives to support HIE, according to the white paper. This approach shifts away from the current system of provider incentives to purchase and implement EHRs and toward rewarding those vendors and stakeholders within the health marketplace who actively design for interoperability and demonstrably prove its value in practice.
“The imperative of health information exchange is now, but in the drive to move from EHRs to information exchange, several tasks still lay ahead. 
“HIMSS envisions a world where we move from static data to a liquid interoperable future, but to advance interoperability toward this goal, there are still challenging tasks ahead. Many of these tasks will require consensus building within the healthcare industry and the development of new policies, laws and ideas that have not yet been conceived or imagined. 
“Each task toward recognizing the business value of HIE also requires an understanding of the problems of the current status quo within health information technology, and a change in the U.S healthcare system to a “culture” of interoperability.” 
The Business Case for Interoperability and Health Information Exchange, p. 18
“This report serves as a primer on our country’s growing national focus on health IT, prompted by President Bush’s 2004 executive order declaring EMR availability by 2014.  It provides a history from where we’ve come and identifies the challenges ahead for HIE, healthcare integration and interoperability,” said HIE Community member Charlie Rogers, CEO, CoreHealth Technologies Inc.
 “While it is too early to say, initial indicators see interoperability and health information exchange bringing value to healthcare in terms of outcomes, quality, patient engagement and other factors that indicate the investment is paying off,” said  Keith Salzman, MD, IBM, and member of HIMSS Clinical and Business Intelligence community.
“The connection between health information exchange and interoperability continues as a primary focus for HIMSS through the Interoperability Showcase – held around the world each year – as well as our tools and resources on health IT standards and interoperability. This new white paper extends our vision of better health through IT and demonstrates support for the Office of the National Coordinator’s current 10-year vision of establishing interoperable health IT networks,” says Joyce Sensmeier MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN, Vice President, Informatics, HIMSS North America.
• Download the white paper on the HIMSS’ website.
• Watch a video on the HIMSS YouTube channel featuring John Loonsk, MD, FACMI, HIMSS Interoperability Maturity Model committee member, discussing the importance of adoption of interoperability and health IT.
About HIMSS
HIMSS is a global, cause-based, not-for-profit organization focused on better health through information technology (IT). HIMSS leads efforts to optimize health engagements and care outcomes using information technology.
HIMSS is a cause-based, global enterprise producing health IT thought leadership, education, events, market research and media services around the world. Founded in 1961, HIMSS encompasses more than 52,000 individuals, of which more than two-thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations across the globe, plus over 600 corporations and 250 not-for-profit partner organizations, that share this cause. HIMSS, headquartered in Chicago, serves the global health IT community with additional offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
September 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.