Health care organizations should coordinate better care and reduce consumer burden by improving their processes for patient-data access measures, according to the ONC's "Improving the Health Records Request Process for Patients" report. The agency recommends allowing patients to request and receive records through their patient portal or another electronic means; improving usability with e-verification, plain language instructions and status updates; and encouraging patients to use portals by promoting easy services such as online appointment-scheduling.
Officials from Peachtree Neurological Clinic in Atlanta reported that, while investigating a recent ransomware incident, they discovered a hacker had accessed their electronic health-records system between February 2016 to May 2017. Data that were possibly compromised include patients' names, medical data, health insurance data, prescriptions, addresses, phone numbers, driver's licenses and Social Security numbers.
The CMS' proposed Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System rule for 2018 is "poorly designed" and does not "propose relief" from the Meaningful Use Stage 3 reporting requirements, which could "do real damage to patients' access to care," according to the American Hospital Association. "The mandate for all hospitals and critical access hospitals to switch to new EHR functionality and report for a full year is unattainable and is at odds with the meaningful use flexibility proposed for eligible clinicians in the Quality Payment Program proposed rule," wrote AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels.
Managing processes without metrics, being unaware of how key performance indicators translate to processes and failure to develop sensible KPIs based on organizational goals are among the most common errors by health care organizations in using analytics to bolster their operations, said Will Israel of the SSI Group. Health care providers are also likely to have nonobjective comparisons in data visualizations and insufficient granular data to perform root-cause analysis, Israel said.
Ed Marx, who was most recently the executive vice president at the Advisory Board, has been named CIO of Cleveland Clinic beginning Sept. 1. Marx will focus on using information-enabled, data-driven technology to significantly improve patient care.
NewYork-Presbyterian introduced its Pediatric Urgent Care telehealth service, which will be facilitated by a board-certified pediatric emergency doctor, aimed at boosting diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as cough, fever, pink eye, vomiting and skin rashes, said Dr. Rahul Sharma of NewYork-Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center. The hospital intends to deploy the service, which will cover New York state patients, in Florida, New Jersey and Connecticut eventually.
Health insurance enrollment platforms are most effective when they streamline the user experience, pinpoint enrollment errors, include regular updates to ensure compliance, and allow users to customize the platform depending on their needs, according to a KLAS report. Interoperability and flexibility for growing businesses are also key, the report found, but the authors say simplicity and utility are the most important considerations.
Physicians have no way to treat fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, but a study conducted with rats could yield a way of reversing the memory and learning deficits associated with the disorder. Researchers found that rats treated with the hormone thyroxine or the drug metformin had no learning or memory issues as adults after prenatal exposure to alcohol.
Male mice that ate a diet including 10% tomato powder daily for 35 weeks were 50% less likely to develop nonmelanoma skin cancers, according to research from The Ohio State University. There was no significant decline in tumor incidence among female mice, underscoring the importance of accounting for sex-related differences in development of preventive treatments, senior author Tatiana Oberyszyn said.
The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio has launched a 12-week pilot program using a telehealth platform to provide counseling to caregivers in US military families, who are four times as likely to have depression as the general population. The telehealth platform, which the group plans to roll out nationally, will allow military caregivers to talk with licensed therapists via their smartphone or computer.
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