The ONC has released an EHR contract guide and a health IT playbook to help health care providers with acquiring and using EHRs and other health IT tools. The "EHR Contracts Untangled" guide aims to assist decision-makers and health care professionals with negotiating EHR acquisitions, while the online Health IT Playbook provides information on implementing and using health IT tools to advance care.
Health care providers don't receive enough cybersecurity guidance from HHS, according to a report from the Government Accountability Office. The GAO also said the agency fails to check whether providers have implemented corrective actions and could better tie cybersecurity to risk assessments required by HIPAA.
Several US states have amended their data breach notification laws to cover protected health information. Illinois and Rhode Island have passed laws to include medical and health insurance information under the definition of protected personal information, with New York considering a similar law, while Nebraska and Tennessee have revised their data breach notification laws.
The CMS has updated the meaningful use requirements for the 2016 reporting period. Eligible professionals need to attest to 10 MU requirements and eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals need to attest to nine, while first-time participants will be required to attest by Oct. 1 to avoid a negative payment adjustment for next year and returning participants have until Feb. 28, 2017, to attest.
Researchers found that some providers have found workarounds to ease the implementation of their EHR systems, but don't always share these ideas with others. "There's a lot of good to EHRs, but if there's problems, I think we need to, as we move forward, learn from each other, expose those," said study co-author Tracy Porter.
Care New England Health System will pay a fine of $400,000 to resolve HIPAA violations involving the loss of unencrypted backup tapes that contained ultrasound studies for around 14,000 patients of business associate Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island. The tapes contained protected health information including patient names, physician names, birth and exam dates and Social Security numbers.
Health care professionals should prepare for EHR data collection as the health care industry experiences a "seismic shift" toward value-based care and increased use of health technology, according to a study by PwC Research Health Institute. Researchers also cited the importance of EHR data standardization and the role of EHR and health data interoperability in the transformation.
Engineers at Apple are working on software that will interpret data collected through wearable biometric technology into diagnostic information for clinicians, researchers and patients. They are also working on EHR software that can interpret patient data.
A Check Point report revealed a ninefold increase in unknown malware attacks since 2015, with 971 accidental downloads by employees each hour. Researchers also found a 60% increase in cybersecurity incidents and a 282% increase in security breach costs in the health care industry, in addition to the discovery of almost 12 million new variants of malware every month.
The Washington State Health Care Authority overpaid 19 hospitals participating in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program by $9,206,388 between Oct. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2015, according to an HHS Office of Inspector General audit. The agency did not detect inaccuracies in hospital-reported payments because staff did not follow federal protocol for incentive payments, the inspector general's report said.
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