Thursday, August 31, 2006

Used Smartphones and PDAs often have sensitive data from previous owners

Used smartphones and PDAs for sale on eBay are loaded with sensitive personal and corporate information ranging from banking records to text messages and corporate emails that can be easily retrieved by hackers and data thieves, according to a sampling by mobile security software provider Trust Digital.

Trust Digital

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

More than $100 million invested in building virtual health sites

Ninety-five million Americans -- about 80 percent of online adults -- have searched the Web for health information in the past year, and the overwhelming majority have been disappointed.

More than 70 percent of those searchers either did not find what they were looking for or had a hard time knowing what to believe, according to market research studies by Jupiter Research and Yankelovich Inc.

That frustration has attracted some famous deep pockets, including America Online co-founder Steve Case, his former employer Time Warner Inc., the Carlyle Group and Allen & Co. Together, they have put more than $100 million into building virtual destinations that offer consumers something beyond disease encyclopedias.

Washington Post

Monday, August 28, 2006

Illinois Governors: Recommends e-Prescribing by 2011;Creates new Division of Patient Safety

In an effort to reduce the number of medical errors that claim the lives of more than 4,000 Illinoisans and nearly 100,000 Americans each year, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today proposed sweeping and comprehensive changes to cut down on errors and improve patient safety. Medical errors cost $1.5 billion a year – in Illinois alone – contributing to higher insurance premiums, higher costs for hospital visits and treatments, higher co-pays, higher insurance rates for doctors and higher costs of prescription drugs. At Evanston Northwestern Healthcare, the Governor today proposed that all providers use “e-prescribing” to reduce errors and save time and money by eliminating paperwork. E-prescribing, or computerizing prescriptions, would mean doctors could easily see what other medications the patient is taking so there are no allergic reactions or other interactions, and then send the prescription to the patient’s pharmacy electronically to avoid mix ups.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Group of 600 practitioners in Central Oregon hires eClinicalWorks for EHR

Planning to build a shared electronic medical record system across Central Oregon, a group of 600 doctors and other medical providers on Monday said they have hired a Massachusetts company to supply the clinical information system.

The privately held company, eClinicalWorks, said it serves about 5,500 medical providers across the United States.

Doctors have been envisioning digitally linked record systems since the late 1980s, and large health systems such as Kaiser Permanente and Providence Health System have spent millions making the transition. Computerized record systems have the potential to increase efficiency by making test results and other patient information readily available when needed, such as in emergencies. Such systems also may reduce errors by flashing warnings about drug interactions and prompting caregivers when a patient is due for a health test.

The Oregonian
RxHub Receives Reports of ePrescribing Successes from Physicians Nationwide
Over 6 Million Patient Medication Histories Delivered

Patient Safety Improved

Electronic prescribing improves patient care and safety as evidenced by a recent highly publicized drug recall. Upon receiving notice about an immediate drug recall, Dr. Salvatore Volpe, a physician practicing in Staten Island, N.Y. used his e-prescribing application, PocketScript, to search for patients who had been prescribed the medication in the past. By accessing patient medication history through the application in less than a minute, the physicians and staff found every patient that needed to be notified without combing through a single chart. Physicians notified their patients of the recall and identified an alternative prescription to issue in its place. “Having access to this data allowed us to identify those patients at risk, and contact them immediately to change their prescription to a safer alternative,” said Dr. Salvatore. “This convenient tool is evidence of the value of medical office automation in improving patient safety and improving medical practice efficiency."

One in a million chance of being quoted, too bad it wasn't the lottery.
Click on the link for the other five stories. SV


Friday, August 25, 2006

Frist touts health cost benefits of IT

More widespread adoption of information technology can help the country reduce some of the waste that adds to the nation's escalating health-care costs, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told doctors and other staff at Greenville Hospital System Thursday.

Greenville News
Sony made laptop batteries exchange program by Dell and Apple

Dell has identified a potential issue associated with certain batteries sold with Dell Latitude™, Inspiron™, XPS™ and Dell Precision Mobile Workstation™ notebook computers. In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other regulatory agencies, Dell is voluntarily recalling certain Dell-branded batteries with cells manufactured by Sony and offering free replacements for these batteries. Under rare conditions, it is possible for these batteries to overheat, which could pose a risk of fire.

Apple has determined that certain lithium-ion batteries containing cells manufactured by Sony Corporation of Japan pose a safety risk that may result in overheating under rare circumstances.



Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thousands of Walk-In Clinics planned by Pharmacy Chains and other retailiers

In some cases even the Co-Pay is covered by the Health Insurance Companies.
These chains should add additional impetus for the adoption of interoperable EHRs. SV

Physician Assistant Jennifer Smith, left, goes over a patient enrollment form with Jessica Brost at a Minute Clinic inside a CVS pharmacy in Eagan, Minn.
By Julie Schmit, USA TODAY
BLAINE, Minn. — At 10:50 a.m., Keri Krumm walks through a CVS/Pharmacy store here to MinuteClinic, a 100-square-foot room next to the pharmacy counter.

A nurse practitioner takes her name, inputs it into a computer and sees that Krumm visited a MinuteClinic before, is allergic to penicillin and has insurance. "What are you here for?" the nurse practitioner asks.

Krumm, 34, woke with red, itchy eyes and fears pinkeye. Nurse practitioner Carole Stranger checks her eyes, ears, neck glands and temperature and asks if she's fine otherwise. "No surprise. Pinkeye is what you've got," Stranger says.

She prints an electronic prescription for eye drops, and Krumm walks 20 feet to get it filled. Krumm is in and out of the store within 20 minutes. Her insurance picks up the $49 visit. "I like that I can get in and out," Krumm says.

Retail clinics like this one are spreading nationwide as more than a dozen clinic operators plan to open thousands in stores such as CVS, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Kerr Drug.

USA Today

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Kaiser patients to get online access to records

Kaiser Permanente of Georgia is letting patients access portions of their medical records online.

The service first rolled out this month in Gwinnett County to 47,000 members and will be available to the remaining 221,000 members in early September.

Atlanta Business Chronicle
Texas Hospitals To Spend Millions on Electronic Health Records

Government pressure is prodding Houston-area hospitals to spend millions on going electronic with medical records.

The federal government pays almost half of all health care claims through Medicare and Medicaid, and is primarily pushing the value of going paperless.

President George W. Bush set the tone early last year by calling on doctors and hospitals to move medical records from filing cabinets to electronic files for the purpose of cutting costs and saving lives.

Houston Business Journal

Monday, August 21, 2006

Florida Governor Jeb Bush Pushes Health Database

A RHIO grows in Florida. SV

In coming weeks, major employers in Tampa Bay will be asked to join the effort to build a regional health information network, part of a statewide system that is one of Gov. Jeb Bush's pet projects.

The governor, who was at Tampa General Hospital on Friday with members of his network advisory group, praised the efforts in Tampa Bay and other metro areas and urged them all to find a way to keep the system growing after he leaves office in January.

The Tampa Tribune

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Care Tech Solutions buys Sabre Consulting

Troy-based health information technology company CareTech Solutions has purchased an Oxford-based Web development company to help it cash in on the growing demand for electronic medical records.

CareTech, which provides computer and Web services to hospitals around the country, has purchased Sabre Consulting in a cash deal. Neither company would disclose the price of the sale.

Detroit Free Press
Missouri HIT group to make recommendations to the governor

A group looking for ways to make better use of technology in health care says it will make recommendations to the governor by Labor Day, but insists that its work is far from over.

The Healthcare Information Technology Task Force, which met Thursday, is supposed to deliver a report by Sept. 1. But state health director Julie Eckstein, task force chairwoman, said members will continue working in coming months to develop more concrete ideas about the direction they think the state should go.

Columbia Missourian

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Telemedicine and Medical Assistants

TV doc treats outside the box

Remote Control Medicine is now available.
Can robots be far behind?SV

Got an earache or itchy rash?

Then log on, look into the camera and listen to the doctor.

Health-e-Station is a cozy off-hours clinic where strep throats, colds, sinus infections and other minor ailments are treated by a doctor who is miles away and talks to the patient over a plasma TV.

The first Health-e-Station opened this week in the Braelinn Village shopping center in Peachtree City, but many more are planned.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Bill Seeks National Medical Records System

An important expectation in this bill is that it will be designed by private industry and primarily funded by private industry. We have already seen the Managed Care Companies begin to come to the table with the development of PHRs (Personal Health Records). The next step is to help the providers of care afford EHRs.SV

WASHINGTON — After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and Mississippi, thousands of evacuees with health problems faced double jeopardy because their medical records had been lost — forcing doctors in evacuation centers to rely on educated guesswork in treating patients they'd never seen before.

One group was spared that risk: former members of the armed forces whose records were available electronically from the Department of Veterans Affairs. For these patients, doctors in Texas, Arkansas and other states that took in Katrina refugees could call up medical charts, prescriptions, lab results — even videos of medical imaging tests.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

House Approves Legislation To Expand Use of Electronic Health Records

The House voted 270-148 to approve an amended version of a Senate bill (S 1418) passed last November that would promote the use of health care information technology, CQ Today reports. Prior to the vote, lawmakers inserted into the legislation the text of a House bill (HR 4157) (Crowely, CQ Today, 7/27). The House bill, sponsored by Reps. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) and Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), would codify the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology within HHS and would establish a committee to make recommendations on national standards for medical data storage and develop a permanent structure to govern national interoperability standards. The bill also would clarify that current medical privacy laws apply to data stored or transmitted electronically and would require the HHS secretary to recommend to Congress a privacy standard to reconcile differences in federal and state laws (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 7/27). Under the bill, the number of billing codes health care providers use to file insurance claims would increase from 24,000 to more than 200,000 by October 2010. In addition, the legislation includes an exemption of anti-kickback laws that would allow hospitals to provide health care IT hardware and software to individual physicians. According to CQ Today, the legislation differs significantly from the Senate bill, which does not include the provision on billing codes or the exemption of anti-kickback laws.

TriZetto Personal Health Record Technology and CMS

TriZetto Personal Health Record Technology to Be Used in Six-Month Feasibility test for The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – August 3, 2006 – The TriZetto Group Inc. (NASDAQ: TZIX) announced that its collaborative care management and personal health management software, called Personal CareAdvance®, has been chosen as part of a six-month feasibility test sponsored by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The government is running only two such tests to determine how best to transform CMS claims data into personal health records that offer value to both Medicare beneficiaries and their care providers. TriZetto is a subcontractor on the project to Capstone Government Solutions, a joint venture of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Tennessee and Cigna Government Services, an arm of Cigna Corp.


Friday, August 11, 2006

IBM Brings Electronic Medical Records One Step Closer Through Open Technology

SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 9, 2006--IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a major step in the drive toward a national electronic medical records system by contributing software technology that supports the exchange of healthcare information to the open source community.

The software, contributed to the Eclipse Foundation's Open Healthcare Framework (OHF) project, provides a mechanism to connect isolated "islands" of information that today reside throughout the healthcare system to any Health Information Exchange (HIE). Software developers will also be able to build applications that can aggregate and sift through this information to improve healthcare delivery and research while protecting individual privacy.

CNN Money
Eclipsys, Zynx Health Form Strategic Business Alliance to Add Zynx Content to Eclipsys Sunrise Clinical Manager™

Boca Raton, FL and Los Angeles, CA — August 9, 2006 — Eclipsys Corporation®, The Outcomes Company®, (NASDAQ: ECLP), and Zynx Health, a leading provider of evidence-based clinical decision support, today announced a strategic business relationship that will enable customers using Eclipsys’ Sunrise Clinical Manager to add Zynx’s body of clinical content and content-management tools to the integrated modules of the Eclipsys advanced information solution.

InteGreat Teams with IntelliDose to Offer Medical Oncology EHR Capabilities for Multi-specialty Group Practices

Great Falls, Mont., clinic first to embed oncology software in IC-Chart

Scottsdale, Ariz. - August 3, 2006 - InteGreat®, a leading provider of electronic health record (EHR) systems for physician group practices, today announced its exclusive partnership with IntelliDose®, an oncology clinical information software solution designed by oncologists to optimize safe and effective healthcare for cancer patients. By embedding IntelliDose software into InteGreat's IC-Chart® EHR solution, physicians in a multi-specialty group practice that includes oncology can house patient information in a single database.

The Physicians' Foundations are making a $2.6 million program-related investment in DocSite

DocSite, LLC, announced that the Physicians' Foundations, after a yearlong review, chose to make DocSite's product suite the cornerstone of an important technology and quality initiative for small and solo physician practices.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Emdeon plans $565M sale of its Practice Services unit

Elmwood-Park based Emdeon Corp. has agreed to sell its Practice Services unit for $565 million, the company said Tuesday.

Practice Services, which provides doctors with software to manage their offices and electronic health records, is to be sold to Sage Software of California.

North Jersey

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Medicare Payments to Doctors Face Cuts

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 — The Bush administration on Tuesday proposed a cut of 5.1 percent across the board in Medicare payments for services provided by doctors to elderly and disabled patients in 2007.


In June 2006 however, CMS made the following statement

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today issued a notice proposing changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) that will improve the accuracy of payments to physicians for the services they furnish to Medicare beneficiaries. The proposed notice includes substantial increases for “evaluation and management” services, that is, time and effort that physicians spend with patients in evaluating their condition, and advising and assisting them in managing their health. The changes reflect the recommendations of the Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) of the American Medical Association."

Either way, practices that do not improve operations and provide adequate documentation are sure to fare worse.SV

Monday, August 07, 2006

GHI offers Personal Health Record for its members

GHI joins Blue Cross/Blue Shield and others.
Hopefully, the MCOs will offer connectivity to individual PHRs like Relayhealth and iHealthrecord.SV


Sunday, August 06, 2006

Virgina establishes Health Informtion Technology Council

Another state joins the growing wave!SV

Blue Cross And Blue Shield Plans Unveil Blue Health Intelligence

CHICAGO - Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans announced today the creation of Blue Health Intelligence (BHI), a unique resource that will help to improve healthcare quality through opportunities to share critical health information initially with employers, and in the future, with consumers and providers. BHI is the premier health intelligence resource in the nation and will strengthen the movement to greater healthcare transparency by ultimately providing unmatched detail about healthcare trends and best practices.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

GHI provides members with Personal Health Record

GHI is pleased to introduce the Health Manager, two online self-management tools designed to help GHI members become more knowledgeable about their current health status and potential health risks. The data will equip them with helpful information to take a more active role in caring for their health.

The GHI "Health Manager" includes the Health Risk Assessment (HRA) and the Personal Health Record (PHR).

This may compete with products from and
Integration with EHRs would be of great benefit though not mentioned on the site.SV

My Offers Free EHRs During Hurricane Season

Up to 100,000 documents and 2,000 photographs per account are being offered to Florida residents.

A certification process would help consumers choose among the different entities offering such services. SV

Naples News