HMT: HIMSS and AHRMM, distracted doctors, EHR adoption, and more
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Health Management Technology News
January 27, 2014
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In this issue:

Today is your last chance to save $30 for the Linking Technology and Supply Chain: Cost, Quality, and Outcomes symposium sponsored by AHRMM and HIMSS

Do doctors spend too much time looking at computer screen?

CDC Releases Report on Physician EHR Adoption

US and UK working to strengthen use of health IT for better patient care

Don’t look now, but Obamacare might just hit a sign-up projection

Do you have what it takes to be considered “tech savvy?”


Today is your last chance to save $30 for the Linking Technology and Supply Chain: Cost, Quality, and Outcomes symposium sponsored by AHRMM and HIMSS

The HIMSS and AHRMM associations are co-sponsoring The Linking Technology and Supply Chain: Cost, Quality, and Outcomes pre-conference symposium being held Sunday, February 23, 2014, 8 AM to 4:PM, at the HIMSS14 conference at the Orlando Convention Center.

This session is important for any healthcare professionals working in healthcare IT, supply chain, revenue cycle management. Attend the HIMSS pre-conference symposium on the Supply Chain, which will show how IT and the C-suite is connecting efforts for more efficient cost management, improved quality and better outcomes under healthcare reform. This way when the C-suite reaches out to IT to get involved – and it will – the IT department will be prepared and ready to go – thanks to you. And you’re facility will get the jump on improving patient care all around.

By attending you can earn 7 CMRP Credit/Contact Hours.The pre-conference symposium will explain the potential for the supply chain to provide the data necessary to achieve better costs, quality and outcomes.

The symposium includes a series of in-depth sessions lead by industry experts. As healthcare moves from a fee-for-service to a fee-for-value environment, the supply chain and healthcare IT can provide the critical needed data to help healthcare systems meet the requirements and objectives of healthcare reform: better quality at a more affordable cost.

In this day-long symposium, attendees will participate not only in a critical dialogue to gain a greater understanding of the data supply chain working with IT can provide around care delivery performance and outcomes but also identify ways to align these key functions in supporting overall organizational objectives in this era of change.

As a source of essential data, the supply chain is well-positioned to help hospitals and health systems understand the analytical aspects of outcomes reporting that leads to its ability to deliver better quality at a more affordable price. The C-suite and healthcare IT team need to collaborate with supply chain in order to get valuable data into electronic medical records.

Stay for the whole HIMSS14 conference and save $300 today as an HIMSS Member- But this discount expires today, Monday, January 27th so register now. Don't miss this opportunity to see latest developments in healthcare technology in one location.

Register now

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Do doctors spend too much time looking at computer screen?

Gazing at electronic health records diverts doctors' attention from patients during office visits

When physicians spend too much time looking at the computer screen in the exam room, nonverbal cues may get overlooked and affect doctors' ability to pay attention and communicate with patients, according to a Northwestern Medicine study.

Published online in January in the journal Medical Informatics, the study found that doctors who use electronic health records (EHR) in the exam room spend about a third of their visits looking at a computer screen.

"When doctors spend that much time looking at the computer, it can be difficult for patients to get their attention," said Enid Montague, first author of the study. "It's likely that the ability to listen, problem-solve and think creatively is not optimal when physicians' eyes are glued to the screen."

Montague is an assistant professor in medicine, general internal medicine and geriatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and an assistant professor in industrial engineering at the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Using video cameras, Northwestern scientists recorded 100 doctor-patient visits in which doctors used computers to access electronic health records. The videos were used to analyze eye-gaze patterns and how they affected communication behavior between patients and clinicians.

"We found that physician–patient eye-gaze patterns are different during a visit in which electronic health records versus a paper-chart visit are used," Montague said. "Not only does the doctor spend less time looking at the patient, the patient also almost always looks at the computer screen, whether or not the patient can see or understand what is on the screen."

Understanding physicians' eye-gaze patterns and their effects on patients can contribute to more effective training guidelines and better-designed technology. Future systems, for example, could include more interactive screen sharing between physicians and patients, Montague said.

"The purpose of electronic health records is to enable health care workers to provide more effective, efficient, coordinated care," Montague said. "By understanding the dynamic nature of eye-gaze patterns and how technology impacts these patterns, we can contribute to future EHR designs that foster more effective doctor–patient interaction."

Read the full Northwestern University article here

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CDC Releases Report on Physician EHR Adoption

This month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new data brief titled "Use and Characteristics of Electronic Health Record Systems Among Office-based Physician Practices: United States, 2001–2013." Authored by Chun-Ju Hsiao, Ph.D., and Esther Hing, M.P.H., the brief details key findings on the state of EHR adoption among practice-based physicians in 2013, as compared with previous years. The brief also reports trends on "physicians' intent to participate in the EHR Incentive Programs and their readiness to meet 14 of the Stage 2 Core Set objectives for meaningful use in 2013."

Key findings of the report include:

  • In 2013, 78% of office-based physicians used any type of electronic health record (EHR) system, up from 18% in 2001.
  • In 2013, 48% of office-based physicians reported having a system that met the criteria for a basic system, up from 11% in 2006. The percentage of physicians with basic systems by state ranged from 21% in New Jersey to 83% in North Dakota.
  • In 2013, 69% of office-based physicians reported that they intended to participate (i.e., they planned to apply or already had applied) in "meaningful use" incentives. About 13% of all office-based physicians reported that they both intended to participate in meaningful use incentives and had EHR systems with the capabilities to support 14 of the Stage 2 Core Set objectives for meaningful use.
  • From 2010 (the earliest year that trend data are available) to 2013, physician adoption of EHRs able to support various Stage 2 meaningful use objectives increased significantly.

Of particular interest to HIMSS is the finding that 69% of physicians reported intent to participate in an EHR incentive program (Medicaid or Medicare) in 2013. This is good news for patients because participation in the programs requires successful attestation for various functionalities and processes that bring a modicum of uniformity to care coordination and patient engagement.

Further, the reports finding of an adoption rate of 78% among physicians brings the nation significantly closer to President Bush's 2004 State of the Union Address calling for a plan to ensure that most Americans would have an electronic health record in the next 10 years. 2014 is 10 years from that day.

Read the full Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study here

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US and UK working to strengthen use of health IT for better patient care

As the use of health information technology (health IT) grows in both the United States and the United Kingdom, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.K. Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt today signed a bi-lateral agreement for the use and sharing of health IT information and tools. The agreement strengthens efforts to cultivate and increase the use of health IT tools and information designed to help improve the quality and efficiency of the delivery of health care in both countries. The two Secretaries signed the agreement at the Annual Meeting of the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

“While we have very different health care delivery systems and payment models, we both face similar challenges posed by aging populations, increased levels of co-morbid chronic disease, and escalating complexity of care delivery and costs,” Secretary Sebelius said. “By working together, we can more effectively take on these challenges, improve the health IT economy, and the health of the American and British populations.”

The agreement signals a formal commitment by both countries to collaborate to advance the applications of data and technology to improve health. “This is a ground-breaking agreement that will help both of our countries use information and technology more effectively to improve care, safety and give people more control over their health, which is now even more important as we transcend care boundaries,” said Secretary Hunt. “By bringing knowledge together this will not only offer insight into tackling common problems across health IT, but through innovation, it will help small to medium enterprises play an effective role in our healthcare market. I would like to thank all involved in making this agreement happen and look forward to collaborating across our health IT economies.”

Originally identified at the June 5, 2013, bilateral summit meeting between the United States and United Kingdom, the collaboration focuses on four key areas for health IT and innovation.

  • Sharing Quality Indicators – The collaboration reviewed existing quality indicators and selected Depression symptom screening and knee/hip quality indicators, and is now identifying alignments across existing British and American repositories to identify best practices in the design and use of quality indicators. Future work will include mutually leveraging technical experts and data, and working on a standardized approach to quality indicator development;
  • Liberating Data and Putting It to Work – HHS and the National Health Service will discuss and find areas of collaboration around:
    • Open data and safe and secure data transparency of secondary stored data, with the consent of patients to allow for the two countries to further assess the quality of preventive interventions and health care delivery
    • Interoperability standards for improvement of data sharing and clinical care respectively, with a focus on consumer/patients accessing and sharing their data
  • Adopting Digital Health Record Systems – Both organizations will work to maximize successful adoption of digital records across the health care spectrum and support the development of a robust health IT workforce; and
  • Priming the Health IT Market – Both organizations will work to support the Health IT Marketplace by identifying barriers to innovation, sharing individual certification approaches for patients and clinician-facing applications, and strategies to support small and medium enterprises/start-ups.

Read the full HHS.gov news release here

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Don’t look now, but Obamacare might just hit a sign-up projection

Welcome to Health Reform Watch, Sarah Kliff’s regular look at how the Affordable Care Act is changing the American health-care system — and being changed by it. You can reach Sarah with questions, comments and suggestions here. Check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon for the latest edition or sign up here to receive it straight from your inbox. Read previous columns here.

Three million people have signed up for private insurance coverage through the health law marketplaces, according to Health and Human Services. That still leaves the Obama administration lagging behind its initial projections for overall health law enrollment--but also closer to hitting monthly sign-up expectations it set back in September.

Health and Human Services says that at least 800,000 people signed up for coverage through this week. So this new figure shouldn't be seen as representing overall January enrollment--that number will likely inch up a bit, when the Obama administration releases a monthly enrollment report in February. Back in September, the Obama administration had projected 1.1 million people would sign-up in the first month of 2014--and these new figures suggest that enrollment could easily hit that number.

Since the federal government implemented significant fixes to HealthCare.gov on Dec. 1, monthly enrollment totals have inched significantly closer to the targets. Instead of netting a quarter or third of the expected sign-ups, as the administration did in October and November, now the numbers are coming in much more in range of expectations.

Read the full The Washington Post article here

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Do you have what it takes to be considered “tech savvy?”

For the last 34 years Health Management Technology has been exploring and chronicling the growth and development of computers and other technologies used in healthcare organizations to provide high-quality patient care.

This year we’d like to shine a light on those hospitals, hospital systems and integrated delivery networks (IDNs) that make optimal decisions about the tech they need and want (in that order) and use it effectively and efficiently. We’re not just looking to recognize those organizations with deep pockets that allow them to stock up on all the latest tools. Instead, we’re looking to recognize those facilities that make optimal use of the tech they have – leaving few capabilities ever untouched – whether large or small, cash-full or cash-strapped.

Here’s where we need your help. Within your organization or within your customer base, who’s using technology and how are they using it to do top-notch, innovative work? We plan to publish mini-profiles of these organizations in HMT’s March 2014 edition, relying on your nominations.

Please submit your recommendations to HMT via email to hmt@npcomm.com no later than Thursday, January 30th. In your submission, please include who you view as the top five hospital, hospital system and/or IDN organizations in terms of their use of technology. (Please provide the organization name, city, state and proper contact information, including name, title, email and telephone number, for each of the five organizations you nominate.) Please highlight in a few bullet points and/or sentences (500 words max) why you believe each organization’s operation measures up to being “tech savvy.”

We look forward to hearing from you and then sharing your recommendation with our readers in March.

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