More than 1,000 patients who visited emergency rooms at Carondelet St. Mary's Hospital and Carondelet St. Joseph's Hospital in Tucson, Ariz., have been notified about a data breach after a doctor's logbook was stolen from her car in March. The logbook, which covered patient visits between Oct. 14, 2015, and March 25, contained information including patient names, dates of birth, hospital medical record numbers and, in some instances, a brief summary of a patient's condition.
A study in Telemedicine and e-Health showed that prisoners with diabetes experienced a 1.3% drop in their A1C levels after participating in telemedicine sessions with endocrinologists, despite limited follow-up visits. Researchers used a cohort of 106 inmates with diabetes at 15 correctional facilities in upstate New York and found that telemedicine increases access to specialists, while also addressing security issues and transportation costs for doctor visits.
Hospitals, medical groups and health IT vendors agree that collaboration is needed on joint data standards and data sharing to achieve seamless interoperability, but health care leaders note that the industry is moving in different directions toward that goal. The industry can only achieve true interoperability through "a complete refresh and recognition by vendors to acknowledge that they have to do this because it's in their business interest to do so," said John Zaleski, executive vice president and chief informatics officer at Bernoulli, who estimates that true interoperability could still be 10 years away.
Complex clinical decision support tools will not be used by physicians unless they are well integrated into the workflow, researchers reported in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, so steps should be taken to make sure CDS tools are thoroughly assessed before implementation. Researchers should evaluate the usefulness of the tool in clinical practice and its ability to meet the specific needs of providers, and complete a thorough investigation of the tool before its implementation.
Health care organizations can achieve highly effective population health management programs by selecting a major focus of expertise, offering personalized services, creating a funding mechanism, preparing for early losses, planning how to redirect excess demand, and regularly evaluating and adjusting programs, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report. "Population health programs require heavy operations investments and have high fixed costs. Organizations should build care services around patient cohorts and actively monitor health outcomes," the report said.
Charles Stellar was appointed president and CEO of WEDI, which gives counsel to HHS on health IT and health information exchange. Stellar, who has served as WEDI's interim CEO since Devin Jopp's resignation in January, was chosen for his 35 years of experience in association management and health care.
A collaboration has brought together Direct Urgent Care, Eko Devices and drchrono to provide clinicians with a three-step process allowing for heart and lung sounds to be integrated into EHRs for clinical documentation. The process calls for the use of the Eko Core Digital Stethoscope in capturing sounds, which are then transmitted to a HIPAA-compliant mobile app and uploaded to the drchrono EHR platform for integration.
The Population Health Risk Assessment Support Engine, a tool developed by doctors from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, has won the top prize of $30,000 in the Closing the Data Divide competition for health information exchange technologies. The system provides hospitals with clinical decision support and helps them determine at-risk patients, while also facilitating data exchange between providers and public health agencies.
A $7 million grant was given to the State University of New York by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute for SUNY's five-year project that will determine if the recovery rate for drug users diagnosed with hepatitis C infections will improve with the use of telehealth services. The project will involve 12 methadone clinics in the state and will compare virus eradication rates, treatment adherence and completion, and patient satisfaction to results from patients given in-person visits with physicians.
Congress should urge HHS to create a coordinated strategy against cyberattacks instead of focusing on organizational reporting structures, said Intermountain Chief Information Officer and CHIME Board Chair Marc Probst. "What's central to this conversation is meaningful coordination, avoiding any unintended consequences of complex reporting that instead may impede the coordination and flow of information necessary to thwart cyberthreats," Probst said.
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