HMT: Health IT safety plan, SIS acquires AmkaiSolutions, smart contact lenses, and more
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Health Management Technology News
January 17, 2014
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In this issue:

HHS makes progress on health IT safety plan with release of the SAFER guides

Surgical Information Systems acquires healthcare software leader AmkaiSolutions

athenahealth and CECity launch first-of-its-kind health data exchange gateway to advance interoperability

Google unveils ‘smart contact lens’ to measure glucose levels

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

HHS makes progress on health IT safety plan with release of the SAFER guides

A new set of guides and interactive tools to help health care providers more safely use electronic health information technology products, such as electronic health records (EHRs), are now available at

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) at HHS today released the Safety Assurance Factors for EHR Resilience (SAFER) Guides. These guides are a suite of tools that include checklists and recommended practices designed to help health care providers and the organizations that support them assess and optimize the safety and safe use of EHRs.

The release of the SAFER Guides marks an important milestone in the implementation of the HHS Health IT Patient Safety Action and Surveillance Plan, which was issued in July 2013. “A basic premise of the Health IT Safety Plan is that all stakeholders have a shared responsibility to make sure that health IT is safely implemented and that it is used to improve patient safety and care,” said Jacob Reider, M.D., chief medical officer at ONC. “The SAFER Guides combine the latest applied knowledge of health IT safety with practical tools that will help providers—working closely with EHR developers, diagnostic service providers, and others—effectively assess and optimize the safety and safe use of EHR technology within their organizations.”

The SAFER Guides complement existing health IT safety tools and research developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and ONC. AHRQ’s Patient Safety Organizations (PSO) have explicitly identified health IT as a high priority area because of the enormous impact EHRs are having on patient safety right now. PSOs are charged to help their members improve patient safety, and the SAFER Guides give them an evidence-based tool to do so.

Rigorously developed by leading health IT safety and informatics researchers and based on the latest available evidence, expert opinion, stakeholder engagement, and field work, each SAFER Guide addresses a critical area associated with the safe use of EHRs through a series of self-assessment checklists, practice worksheets, and recommended practices. Areas addressed include:

  • High Priority Practices
  • Organizational Responsibilities
  • Patient Identification
  • Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) with Decision Support
  • Test Results Review and Follow-up
  • Clinician Communication
  • Contingency Planning
  • System Interfaces
  • System Configuration

Read the full news release here

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Surgical Information Systems acquires healthcare software leader AmkaiSolutions

Surgical Information Systems ("SIS"), a leader in perioperative information systems that are uniquely designed to add value at every point of the perioperative process, today announced it has acquired AmkaiSolutions, a leader in ambulatory surgery center (ASC) electronic medical record (EMR) and business management software.

The addition of AmkaiSolutions strengthens SIS' position in the perioperative IT market where it already serves over 300 hospitals and health systems in the U.S. and Canada. AmkaiSolutions will enable SIS to continue to meet the needs of its current clients and extend its capabilities into the ambulatory surgery market which includes ASCs, surgical hospitals and their affiliated physician practices. At the same time, AmkaiSolutions will benefit from SIS' robust capabilities in product development and client support.

SIS and AmkaiSolutions have long shared a commitment to support the distinctive information and business management needs of the complex perioperative environment. With predicted increases in surgical volumes for the future, healthcare organizations are under more pressure than ever to deliver cost-effective, high-quality care to more patients.

Ed Daihl, CEO of SIS, stated, "The combination of these two industry leaders will help meet the changing needs of surgical care delivery and bring together a legacy of technology innovation, surgery, and anesthesia expertise, as well as strong client and partner relationships to the market. The merger expands our ability to provide the solutions perioperative leaders need to help meet their safety, efficiency, and financial goals in any surgical environment."

AmkaiSolutions has experienced substantial growth over the past few years as ambulatory surgery facilities replace and enhance their legacy administrative solutions and expand into electronic clinical documentation. Offering a complete software suite for the ambulatory surgery market, including both an EMR system (AmkaiCharts) and a next-generation administrative management software solution (AmkaiOffice), the company's systems are currently installed in more than 200 facilities in the U.S.

Read the full MarketWatch news release here

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athenahealth and CECity launch first-of-its-kind health data exchange gateway to advance interoperability

athenahealth, Inc.(Nasdaq:ATHN), a leading provider of cloud-based services for electronic health record (EHR), practice management, and care coordination, and CECity, a leading provider of cloud-based registry services for performance improvement and value-based reporting, today announced a partnership through which the companies will launch a first-of-its-kind health data exchange integration and reporting service, automating the flow of information directly from practices using athenaClinicals, athenahealth's award-winning EHR, to clinical registries from national medical specialty societies and other registries. The American College of Physicians (ACP) will be the first national medical organization to receive clinical data from athenaClinicals to its registry through CECity's clinical quality data gateway (ImpaQt Gateway).

"In partnership with CECity, and through a combination of our open cloud-based platform and commitment to free data flow in health care, we continue to expand our providers' ability to effortlessly transmit key clinical data from their EHR to the places it needs to and should go," said Doran Robinson, vice president, Healthcare Transactions, athenahealth. "We believe data exchange should be a core service embedded in health information technology (HIT) to satisfy things like Meaningful Use, but more importantly to advance the delivery of high-quality, well-coordinated care. This partnership is an important differentiator for athenahealth; with CECity, we are establishing a key platform integration point that enables any provider using our athenaClinicals service to meet Meaningful Use specialized registry requirements with no additional effort and at no additional cost, so they can focus on their primary role of efficient, high-quality patient care delivery."

The ImpaQt Gateway will enable the seamless transfer of information from the national athenaNet platform to appropriate "Specialized Registries" in order to satisfy the Meaningful Use Stage 2 - Menu Measure 6 requirement that went into effect January 1, 2014. The ImpaQt Gateway includes support for standardized data exchange formats from EHRs, as prescribed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Through secure, continuous data exchange, the ImpaQt Gateway accepts standardized EHR files, which are then automatically processed and logically stored in CECity's registry-based cloud platform. Practices are then able to control how they would like their EHR data to be channeled for use in a variety of applications hosted by CECity, including the specialized registries available for Meaningful Use, as well as PQRS, Bridges to Excellence, Maintenance of Certification, and other clinical practice improvement programs.

The first specialized registry to receive data through the ImpaQt Gateway will be ACP Genesis Registry. Through a partnership with CECity, ACP Genesis Registry will accept data from athenaClinicals and provide participating health care practices with continuous feedback reports presented through online performance monitors. Each monitor offers providers a user-friendly view of their personal performance results compared to national benchmarks, benchmarks established by ACP, as well as peer comparators, and a custom analysis of their measure gaps. Linked opportunities to drive improvement and close performance gaps are available, which include population health and patient care management tools, targeted education, resources, and other evidence-based interventions from CECity's society, academic, and quality improvement research partners.

Read the full news release here

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Google unveils ‘smart contact lens’ to measure glucose levels

Googles new smart contract lens uses a "tiny" wireless chip and a "miniaturized" glucose sensor embedded between two layers of lens material. The firm said it is also working on integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed certain thresholds.But it added that "a lot more work" needed to be done to get the technology ready for everyday use.

"We hope this could someday lead to a new way for people with diabetes to manage their disease," the firm said.

Many global firms have been looking to expand in the wearable technology sector - seen by many as a key growth area in the coming years. Various estimates have said the sector is expected to grow by between $10 billion and $50 billion in the next five years. Within the sector, many firms have been looking specifically at technology targeted at healthcare.

Google's latest foray with the smart contact lens is aimed at a sector where consumer demand for such devices is expected to grow. Google said it was testing a prototype of the lens that could "generate a reading once per second".

According to the International Diabetes Federation, one in ten people across the world's population are forecast to have diabetes by 2035. People suffering from the condition need to monitor their glucose levels regularly as sudden spikes or drops are dangerous. At present, the majority of them do so by testing drops of blood.

Google said it was working with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to bring the product to mainstream use. It added that it would look for partners "who are experts in bringing products like this to market". Google said it would work with these partners to develop apps aimed at making the measurements taken by the lens available to the wearer and their doctor.

Earlier this month, a gadget called Sensible Baby was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. It is a sensor put in an infant's night clothes that tracks their temperature, orientation and movement. It sounds a smartphone app alarm if it detects a problem.

Several smartwatches that can monitor data by studying key indicators such as the wearer's heart rate and temperature have also been launched. Last year, Japanese firm Sony filed a patent for a 'SmartWig', with healthcare cited as one of its potential uses. It said the wig could use a combination of sensors to help collect information such as temperature, pulse and blood pressure of the wearer.

For more visit BBC News

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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 klieg 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 and a fiscal war chest that allows them to stock up on all the latest tools and toys. 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.

What makes a provider organization “tech savvy?” What they’re doing and why they matter in the areas of cost-conscious, efficiency-driven, clinically motivated and patient-centric concepts, ideas and activities that can generate quality outcomes.

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.

1. If you were to look at your current customer/membership roster, what are the top five hospital, hospital system and/or IDN organizations you’d recommend we consider for this list? (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.)

2. For each of your recommendations, please highlight a few bullet points and/or sentences why you believe this organization’s operation measures up to being “tech savvy.”

We’re going to collect the recommendations and evaluate them based on their “nominations.” Please note that you or your organization will not be identified as nominating the organization, but if a number of your organizations make the list you’ll certainly earn some bragging rights. At the end of the “official” list we will ask readers to submit organization names that should have been on the list and that we should consider for the 2015 compilation.

Please submit your recommendations to HMT via email no later than Monday, January 20.

Feel free to pool as many folks within your organization for recommendations as you’d like. As always, we appreciate your help and insights and look forward to sharing them with our valued readers.


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