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Health Management Technology News
November 13, 2013

In this issue:

Insurers Press for Way Around

3 Guys, 3 Days to Build a Better Obamacare Website

HIMSS Analytics Honors University of Missouri’s Ambulatory Clinics with Stage 7 Ambulatory Award

As Robot-Assisted Surgery Expands, Are Patients And Providers Getting Enough Information?

Heath Law

Insurers Press for Way Around

Some major health insurers are so worried about the Obama administration’s ability to fix its troubled healthcare website that they are pushing the government to create a shortcut that would allow them to enroll people entitled to subsidies directly rather than through the federal system.

The idea is only one of several being discussed in a frantic effort to find a way around the technological problems that teams of experts are urgently trying to resolve.

So far, the administration has resisted the idea, partly because of concerns about giving insurance companies access to personal data. People familiar with the matter said no such modifications are planned, and even some insurers are not holding out much hope.

But senior White House officials said the administration was open to ways in which insurers could handle more enrollments and had stepped up efforts to make that possible because of the technical problems with the site.

“It was something we were always doing,” one official said, but it is “of additional value now.” In a statement, Chris Jennings, a senior healthcare adviser to President Obama, said the administration was “continuing to pursue additional avenues by which people can enroll, such as direct enrollment through insurance companies, that will help meet pent-up demand.”

In proposing the idea, the insurers said a bypass giving them direct access to the federal platform that determines a consumer’s eligibility for a subsidy would alleviate the traffic on the website,, and provide more breathing room to fix complicated technical problems that threaten to persist beyond a crucial, self-imposed Dec. 1 deadline.

Read the full NY Times article.

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Health Law

3 Guys, 3 Days to Build a Better Obamacare Website

Three twenty-something programmer dudes did something in three days that 55 U.S. government contractors couldn’t do in more than 2 years: Build a workable website.

HealthSherpa lets users quickly shop for health insurance plans by ZIP code, and calculates their federal tax subsidy eligibility. Unlike the federal and state exchange websites, the site does not force users to go through a lengthy sign up and application process to get their information. Instead, users can find what they need by clicking through a few clean, Google-like screens.

Read the full ABC News article.

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Meaningful Use

HIMSS Analytics Honors University of Missouri’s Ambulatory Clinics with Stage 7 Ambulatory Award

HIMSS Analytics recognized 44 of University of Missouri’s (MU Health Care) ambulatory clinics with its Stage 7 Ambulatory Award. The award represents the University of Missouri’s ambulatory clinics' attainment of the highest level on the Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM), which is used to track EMR progress at hospitals and health systems.

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.

Stage 7 represents the highest level of EMR adoption and indicates a health system’s advanced electronic patient record environment. Through the second fiscal quarter of 2013, only 1.16 percent of the more than 19,085 U.S. ambulatory clinics in the HIMSS Analytics Database have received the Stage 7 Ambulatory Award.

Read more details about the HIMSS Stage 7 Award.

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As Robot-Assisted Surgery Expands, Are Patients And Providers Getting Enough Information?

The use of robotic surgical systems is expanding rapidly, but hospitals, patients and regulators may not be getting enough information to determine whether the high tech approach is worth its cost.

Problems resulting from surgery using robotic equipment – including deaths – have been reported late, inaccurately or not at all to the Food and Drug Administration, according to one study.

The study, published in the Journal for Healthcare Quality earlier this year, focused on incidents involving Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci Robotic Surgical System over nearly 12 years, scrubbing through several data bases to find troubled outcomes. Researchers found 245 incidents reported to the FDA, including 71 deaths and 174 nonfatal injuries. But they also found eight cases in which reporting fell short, including five cases in which no FDA report was filed at all.

The FDA assesses and approves products based on reported device-related complications. If a medical device malfunctions, hospitals are required to report the incident to the manufacturer, which then reports it to the agency. The FDA, in turn, creates a report for its Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience database.

Intuitive Surgical, the makers of the da Vinci device, released a statement last month taking issue with the study’s findings.

The company said it agreed regarding the “need for a more robust and standardized system for reporting adverse events” but also encouraged the study’s authors “to conduct a comparable study that assesses the under reporting of both open and laparoscopic surgical events and would welcome a comparison with robotic-assisted surgery.”

Read the full KHN article.

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Continuing Education

Harvard’s Leadership Strategies for Information Technology in Health Care Course

Harvard’s Leadership Strategies for Information Technology in Health Care Course
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Surviving value-based purchasing in healthcare

Surviving value-based purchasing in healthcare
Learn what you need to know in a world measured by value-based care. Attend the hour-long webinar titled "A Road Map to Success Under the New Reimbursement Model." Bobbi Brown, vice president of financial engagement at Health Catalyst, discusses the new era of accountability for providers, including a review of the metrics defined by CMS for value-based purchasing and lessons learned from other hospitals.

View the On-Demand Recording of this Health Catalyst Webinar >

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November 2013 HMT digital book

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HIMSS Analytics honors three hospitals with Stage 7 Awards
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