Healthcare and Technology news
37.0K views | +0 today
Follow
Healthcare and Technology news
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scoop.it!

PA’s Health Information Exchange Awards $674K to Hospitals

PA’s Health Information Exchange Awards $674K to Hospitals | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

The institution of a health information exchange (HIE) is imperative for the healthcare industry, as it allows for effective data sharing among multiple medical facilities located on opposite sides of the country and coordinates care throughout patient-centered medical homes, accountable care organizations (ACOs), and other healthcare settings.


The Penssylvania e-Health Partnership Authority is one such health information exchange institution, which has recently awarded onboarding grants of more than $674,000.00 to connect multiple hospitals and other healthcare providers including ambulatory care practices to its Pennsylvania Patient & Provider Network (P3N), according to a company press release.


Approximately $67,000 of the awards come from state funding while about $607,000 comes from federal funds. The program’s funding comes from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and is being awarded with the assistance of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
By integrating provider networks to health information organizations (HIOs), the P3N creates a strong system for electronic health information exchange. The release states that $355,000 is being awarded to the HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania.


“The benefits of eHIE to patients and providers are significant,” Alix Goss, Executive Director of the Authority, stated in the press release. “This grant program is critical to helping providers connect to HIOs, and HIOs connect to the P3N.”


“As more HIOs join the P3N along with their connected providers, more patients will experience better coordination of their care, faster access to their clinical results, and reduced redundancy of medical tests,” Goss continued. “The bottom line for patients, providers, and the healthcare system will be improved patient safety and healthcare quality.”


These onboarding grants are helpful in terms of supporting sustainability among private-sector HIOs and assisting in increasing its membership. Additionally, the program brings about a stronger emphasis on the participation in electronic health information exchange, supporting healthcare reforms, and offering high-quality healthcare services.


The performance period for this grant ends on September 30, 2015 and is part of the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. The onboarding grant funding itself is covered mostly by CMS while the Authority covers 10 percent of it.


Spreading health information exchange platforms throughout the nation is vital in the industry’s efforts to reduce medical errors, support population health management, improve care coordination, and offer better quality care.


While health information exchange remains vital to improving medical care services, there are certain regions throughout the United States that have not embraced the use of HIE platforms. Rhode Island is one example. Go Local Prov reports that as many as eight out of ten physicians in Rhode Island are not using the state’s health information exchange. Rhode Island Medical Society Government Relations Director Steven DeToy explained some of the reasons for the low numbers of health information exchange adoption.


"First, not every physician has a computer that they use for EHRs," DeToy told the news source. "Second, some of those who do, have a system that isn't CurrentCare compatible as of right now, but hopefully will be. There have been some proprietary issues. Certain EHRs don't allow physicians to prescribe electronically.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Are We Getting Closer to the Top of the HIE Mountain?

Are We Getting Closer to the Top of the HIE Mountain? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Two weeks ago, I finally completed the long, enduring process of buying my first home in Hoboken, N.J. The journey, from start to finish, took months to complete, the money put into it was substantial, and the paperwork and effort to try to make sure that everything went smoothly (Does it ever when it comes to real estate?) was rigorous, to put it kindly.


One of the strangest parts about this process, from a personal standpoint, is that I won’t be living in the home! Instead, I see it as an investment opportunity that I hope will pay off in the long run. Will it? It’s hard to say as of right now—the real estate market will dictate how it works out for me in the future, and it might be years and years down the road until I know if it was a savvy move or not.


The quick lesson here: sometimes in life, it takes a really long time to see tangible results for the efforts that we have put in. This couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to health information exchanges (HIE). The investment that our country has put into developing and maintaining HIE platforms has been gigantic, in the form of half a billion dollars, yet many naysayers believe that the return on that investment might never come.


To date, it’s been pretty hard to argue with them. Interestingly enough, I actually blogged about this very issue back in December, referencing a study from the Santa Monica, Calif.-based research organization RAND Corporation which found that due to the lack of evaluation on HIEs in the U.S., simply put, it has been too difficult to determine if they have been successful or not.  It’s too early to judge them, the researchers of that report found. “There are likely other health information exchange organizations in the country that are being used, and some may be having an impact. But, if they exist, they haven't been evaluated,” Robert Rudin, lead author of the study and an associate policy researcher at RAND, said at the time.


Recently, I read another review on HIEs, one that had similar conclusions to the RAND study in terms of early evaluation, although this study had a more optimistic outlook. This latest report, “The benefits of health information exchange platforms: Measuring the returns on a half a billion dollar investment,” from Niam Yaraghi, a fellow in the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation, studied the effects of accessing patient information through an HIE platform on the number of the laboratory tests and radiology examinations performed in two emergency departments in Western New York in 2014, via the region’s HIE, HEALTHeLINK. While Yaraghi readily admits that true HIE benefits won’t be realized until more providers join HIE platforms, and subsequently share data, he sees that there is significant potential.


Yaraghi’s analysis looked at two groups of patients in the ED, one group whose care involved querying HEALTHeLINK’s database of clinically relevant information from a patient’s medical history, and the other group whose care did not involve an HIE query. The study revealed that querying the HIE’s database is associated with significant utilization reduction in ED settings. In the first ED setting, querying the database is associated with respectively, a 25 percent and 26 percent reduction in the estimated number of laboratory tests and radiology examinations. In the second ED setting, querying the HIE’s database is associated with a 47 percent reduction in the estimated number of radiology examinations.


In his conclusion, Yaraghi writes, “The efforts by Congress, patient advocacy groups, and most importantly the shift towards value-based payments promise complete interoperability in the near future. After more than a decade of concerted national efforts, we are now on the verge of realizing the returns on our investments on health IT. HIE platforms have the potential to leverage the national investments on interoperability and radically improve the efficiency of healthcare services.”


Comparatively speaking, the aforementioned RAND study found no evidence showing whether or not health information exchanges are on track as a potential solution to the problem of fragmented healthcare. “It is pretty well established that the U.S. healthcare system is highly fragmented,” RAND’s Rubin said. “Lots of studies over the years, including some recent studies, have shown that a typical patient visits doctors in many different practices. Frequently the doctors don't have the patient's previous medical information. There is no sign of that problem getting better, and in fact it may get worse if medicine continues to become more specialized.”


Indeed, as Yaraghi notes, getting providers on board and increasing the volume of data available on the HIE platform will be the key moving forward. “A RHIO (regional health information organization) without data is an expensive yet empty glass of water,” he writes.  “At the beginning, RHIOs could help physicians have a better understanding of the patients’ condition as much as an empty glass could help them quench their thirst.” Undoubtedly, as HIE organizations look to get providers more involved and willing to share data, the providers themselves are looking for more out of the HIEs. A recent report from NORC at the University of Chicago, funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), found that providers highlight the potential for HIE to ease access to actionable data that integrates data from across the care continuum and provides clinicians with information at the point of care to improve care delivery and care coordination.


At the end of the day, it’s all about value, as with most things in life. If the general public values my condo in Hoboken, and I get renters to pay me to live there, I’m almost certainly going to see a return on my investment. Similarly, if physicians across the U.S. see value in HIEs, the federal government will eventually see a return on their investment as well, in the form of lower healthcare costs and better patient outcomes. As Yaraghi writes, “This is the first study in which access to an HIE platform was provided to all of the patients in a treatment group, while the care of the others in the control group did not include querying an HIE platform.” I hope that this research serves a stepping stone for moreresearch in this area—and down the road, a return on our enormous expenditure into health information exchanges.

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Are We Getting Closer to the Top of the HIE Mountain?

Are We Getting Closer to the Top of the HIE Mountain? | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Two weeks ago, I finally completed the long, enduring process of buying my first home in Hoboken, N.J. The journey, from start to finish, took months to complete, the money put into it was substantial, and the paperwork and effort to try to make sure that everything went smoothly (Does it ever when it comes to real estate?) was rigorous, to put it kindly.


One of the strangest parts about this process, from a personal standpoint, is that I won’t be living in the home! Instead, I see it as an investment opportunity that I hope will pay off in the long run. Will it? It’s hard to say as of right now—the real estate market will dictate how it works out for me in the future, and it might be years and years down the road until I know if it was a savvy move or not.


The quick lesson here: sometimes in life, it takes a really long time to see tangible results for the efforts that we have put in. This couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to health information exchanges (HIE). The investment that our country has put into developing and maintaining HIE platforms has been gigantic, in the form of half a billion dollars, yet many naysayers believe that the return on that investment might never come.


To date, it’s been pretty hard to argue with them. Interestingly enough, I actually blogged about this very issue back in December, referencing a study from the Santa Monica, Calif.-based research organization RAND Corporation which found that due to the lack of evaluation on HIEs in the U.S., simply put, it has been too difficult to determine if they have been successful or not.  It’s too early to judge them, the researchers of that report found. “There are likely other health information exchange organizations in the country that are being used, and some may be having an impact. But, if they exist, they haven't been evaluated,” Robert Rudin, lead author of the study and an associate policy researcher at RAND, said at the time.


Recently, I read another review on HIEs, one that had similar conclusions to the RAND study in terms of early evaluation, although this study had a more optimistic outlook. This latest report, “The benefits of health information exchange platforms: Measuring the returns on a half a billion dollar investment,” from Niam Yaraghi, a fellow in the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation, studied the effects of accessing patient information through an HIE platform on the number of the laboratory tests and radiology examinations performed in two emergency departments in Western New York in 2014, via the region’s HIE, HEALTHeLINK. While Yaraghi readily admits that true HIE benefits won’t be realized until more providers join HIE platforms, and subsequently share data, he sees that there is significant potential.

Yaraghi’s analysis looked at two groups of patients in the ED, one group whose care involved querying HEALTHeLINK’s database of clinically relevant information from a patient’s medical history, and the other group whose care did not involve an HIE query. The study revealed that querying the HIE’s database is associated with significant utilization reduction in ED settings. In the first ED setting, querying the database is associated with respectively, a 25 percent and 26 percent reduction in the estimated number of laboratory tests and radiology examinations. In the second ED setting, querying the HIE’s database is associated with a 47 percent reduction in the estimated number of radiology examinations.


In his conclusion, Yaraghi writes, “The efforts by Congress, patient advocacy groups, and most importantly the shift towards value-based payments promise complete interoperability in the near future. After more than a decade of concerted national efforts, we are now on the verge of realizing the returns on our investments on health IT. HIE platforms have the potential to leverage the national investments on interoperability and radically improve the efficiency of healthcare services.”


Comparatively speaking, the aforementioned RAND study found no evidence showing whether or not health information exchanges are on track as a potential solution to the problem of fragmented healthcare. “It is pretty well established that the U.S. healthcare system is highly fragmented,” RAND’s Rubin said. “Lots of studies over the years, including some recent studies, have shown that a typical patient visits doctors in many different practices. Frequently the doctors don't have the patient's previous medical information. There is no sign of that problem getting better, and in fact it may get worse if medicine continues to become more specialized.”


Indeed, as Yaraghi notes, getting providers on board and increasing the volume of data available on the HIE platform will be the key moving forward. “A RHIO (regional health information organization) without data is an expensive yet empty glass of water,” he writes.  “At the beginning, RHIOs could help physicians have a better understanding of the patients’ condition as much as an empty glass could help them quench their thirst.” Undoubtedly, as HIE organizations look to get providers more involved and willing to share data, the providers themselves are looking for more out of the HIEs. A recent report from NORC at the University of Chicago, funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), found that providers highlight the potential for HIE to ease access to actionable data that integrates data from across the care continuum and provides clinicians with information at the point of care to improve care delivery and care coordination.


At the end of the day, it’s all about value, as with most things in life. If the general public values my condo in Hoboken, and I get renters to pay me to live there, I’m almost certainly going to see a return on my investment. Similarly, if physicians across the U.S. see value in HIEs, the federal government will eventually see a return on their investment as well, in the form of lower healthcare costs and better patient outcomes. As Yaraghi writes, “This is the first study in which access to an HIE platform was provided to all of the patients in a treatment group, while the care of the others in the control group did not include querying an HIE platform.” I hope that this research serves a stepping stone for moreresearch in this area—and down the road, a return on our enormous expenditure into health information exchanges.

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Health Information Exchange Thrives and Flounders across USA

Health Information Exchange Thrives and Flounders across USA | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Health information exchange is becoming more important than ever before in the attempts to avert medical errors and provide physicians with key data needed to make informed clinical decisions. As such, the healthcare systems Scripps Health and Sharp Healthcare announced on May 12 that they will be participating in the San Diego Health Connect (SDHC), the region’s health information exchange (HIE).

This move will allow physicians and other healthcare professionals to quickly access the information of more than 2.7 million patients who reside in the County of San Diego. At this point in time, patients have been notified of this development through the mail. It is expected that quick access to data through the health information exchange system will lead to better coordinated care among physicians.


Additionally, the HIE includes strong security measures and will allow doctors to view laboratory results and test imaging, hospital discharge summaries, medical history, and information on drug reactions or allergies.


“The real-time exchange of medical information between San Diego providers will ensure patients receive timely and cost-efficient care,” Mike Murphy, Sharp HealthCare CEO, stated in the press release. “Lives will undoubtedly be saved as result of sharing critical patient care information in a secure and confidential manner.”

Scripps Health President and CEO Chris Van Gorder also mentioned in a public statement that participating in a health information exchange eliminates test redundancy and any procedures from “being repeated unnecessarily.” Patients will need to provide permission and authorization for clinicians to access their information at the point of care.


Currently, the San Diego Health Connect exchanges more than 200,000 secure messages across local hospitals and clinics every day. While San Diego seems to have an effective health information exchange system, the state of Connecticut may be struggling with EHR interoperability and efficient health data sharing.


The Connecticut Mirror reports that patients throughout the state who end up in an emergency room may not have their records and drug prescriptions sent to a pharmacy electronically but by fax.

Connecticut has attempted to develop a health information exchange network before but it failed. The Health Information Technology Exchange of CT was first established in 2010 with the help of $4.3 million in federal grants, but had severe difficulties with its vendor and never developed the network it intended to create. In 2014, the organization was dismantled and the Department of Social Services took over its functions.


In order to improve the quality of patient care, some state legislators have begun discussing the need for a health information exchange system in Connecticut. One bill proposed by the Senate instructs officials to use $50 million in bonding funds to develop a health information exchange network throughout the state.


Many within the Department of Social Services, however, reject the bill, explaining that the department is attempting to improve information sharing and close any gaps regarding the exchange of medical records instead of creating a whole new network.


Whatever the state of Connecticut decides to do, it is clear that effective and efficient medical data exchange across the nation will bring about a stronger healthcare industry and better patient care.


more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Nursing homes get help with HIE

Nursing homes get help with HIE | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

While nursing homes have traditionally been one of the weakest links when it comes to health information exchange and care coordination, a new project aims to help improve those facilities' electronic communication with hospitals.


A recent study published in Applied Clinical Informatics, "Preparing Nursing Homes for the Future of Health Information Exchange," spotlights the efforts of University of Missouri researchers as they worked to get 16 nursing homes up and running with HIE capabilities.


The MU researchers took stock of these facilities' readiness for electronic data exchange – evaluating their Wi-Ficapabilities, for example, and assessing the state of their computer hardware. With help from Centers for Medicare &Medicaid Services money – a $14.8 million CMS grant aiming to reduce avoidable re-hospitalizations among nursing home residents – they then helped the nursing homes acquire the infrastructure they lacked.


Researchers then conducted 32 hours of clinical observation, 68 site visits and 230 interviews to study how staff integrated the technology and HIE processes into their workflow.


MU researchers also spotlighted the areas most integral to patient care, and explored how technology can facilitate those tasks. With diagrams, they developed visual representations of the communication flow and how technology could streamline and integrate existing processes.


"Our goal was to develop a more integrated system by providing an information exchange that could be used by all stakeholders involved in patient care," said Greg Alexander, associate professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing and lead researcher of this study, in a statement. "We want to build a network through identifying key players and their needs."


Researchers found that all the nursing homes used IT to support patient care, whether through tracking dietary needs and medications or to complete other administrative activities. Most of the technology was used to communicate patients' information within the nursing home rather than to communicate with external units, such as hospitals or off-site pharmacies.


Many nursing homes used technology to complete tasks, such as keeping track of patients' medications or scheduling appointments, but these systems often were separate. The researchers concluded that many nursing homes needed additional technological and human resources to build and implement an effective HIE network.


"The exchange of accurate, complete and timely information between hospitals and nursing homes can be complicated when older adults transfer from one place to another," said Alexander. "Ultimately, we want to facilitate a way for staff members to communicate safely and securely about patients' health. We want to prepare nursing homes to communicate externally as well as internally so that care transitions smoothly and patients have better health outcomes."


In the next phase of the project, researchers will evaluate whether HIE implementation improves communication about resident care, and will assess how clinicians and other staff feel about integrating the HIE into their workflow, according to MU. The goal, ultimately, is to provide a mechanism for nursing homes and hospitals to share patient information and medical documents securely through the health information exchange.

more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Providers Looking for More out of HIEs

Providers Looking for More out of HIEs | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Healthcare providers’ health information exchange (HIE) needs have moved beyond connecting disparate systems and meeting meaningful requirements. They are now looking for HIEs to ease access to “actionable” data, according to a report from NORC at the University of Chicago.


The researchers conducted an in-depth examination consisting of site visits and 37 semi-structured discussions in six states (Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, and Wyoming) in the early months of 2014 to understand provider perspectives on the state HIE program and their experiences with electronic exchange. The report was funded by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).


The report found that providers highlight the potential for HIE to ease access to actionable data that integrates data from across the care continuum and provides clinicians with information at the point of care to improve care delivery and care coordination. Providers highlighted several exchange priorities: admission, discharge, transfer (ADT) alerts, services that facilitate care coordination, and interstate exchange.


Additionally, meaningful use and payment reform are creating new requirements for health IT-enabled information sharing related to care coordination and management as well as new models for patient care. Providers anticipate a growing need for vendor provided HIE services and infrastructure as expectations for electronic exchange of health information increase under this shift, the report found.


Providers also encountered various challenges, specifically competing priorities, issues managing multiple funding streams, lack of qualified staff on the provider side, and difficulty obtaining adequate support from electronic health record (EHR) and HIE vendors. They also noted a need for interoperable systems to meet exchange and health system reform goals.


What’s more, providers in most states believed that the state HIE program contributed to building awareness around HIE and the benefits of exchanging information. Providers conveyed a general sentiment that a state-based HIE effort is important, due to their stature as neutral entity, capable of bringing stakeholders together. Even though the meaningful use program did not provide incentive payments to long-term care and behavioral health providers, the state HIE program was instrumental in engaging these providers, identifying their specific needs and the gaps that grantees needed to fill, particularly around care continuity, the report revealed.


The researchers concluded, “Throughout the life of the program, HIE has become more visible and better established, meaning that provider priorities and challenges have likewise evolved.” In addition to highlighting providers’ current needs and perspectives on HIE, findings from these conversations emphasize certain areas, the researchers said:

  • Providers have additional use cases beyond meaningful use and payment reform they are or would like to pursue to meet their specific exchange needs.
  • New healthcare system priorities, such as care coordination suggest expanding interoperable health IT systems and services to providers in eligible for meaningful use to ensure that the information needed to manage care is available electronically.
  • There is a need to push for interoperability at the vendor level.
more...
No comment yet.
Scoop.it!

Opening the Door to True Health Information Sharing

Opening the Door to True Health Information Sharing | Healthcare and Technology news | Scoop.it

Many in the healthcare industry struggle over the true definition of interoperability. According to University of Texas Health School of Biomedical Informatics professor Dean F. Sittig, Ph.D., oftentimes, when people talk about interoperability, they’re talking about it from their own point of view or their own use case that they’re interested in.


As such, Sittig, who is also a member of the Houston-based UT-Memorial Hermann Center for Healthcare Quality and Safety, thought it was time to write a definition on what an open electronic health record (EHR) was. Sittig has promptly indentified five use cases for open EHR technology and health IT interoperability under the acronym of EXTREME: EXtract: extract patient records while maintaining granularity of structured data; TRansmit: authorized users transmit patient records to other clinicians without losing structured data; Exchange: exchange enables organizations to participate in health information exchanges (HIEs) regardless of which EHR they use; Move: move enables organizations to switch EHRs without incurring extraordinary data extraction and conversion costs; and Embed: embed enables organizations to develop new EHR features of functionality and incorporate it into clinicians’ workflow.


The idea of this EXTREME model is to talk about five of the key stakeholders in healthcare interoperability: patients, clinicians, researchers, developers, and administrators, and from each of their standpoints, try to understand or say what interoperability means to them, Sittig says. From there, Sitting and others wrote down different requirements that systems would have to do to meet these cases, as well as the questions that would be raised from them.


Sittig says that some of these use cases are happening in patient care organizations around the nation, and others aren’t. For the ones that aren’t, people are clamoring for them to occur, he says. One such use case that’s not happening too often is that an organization should move their patient records from one EHR to another, he notes. “Say you bought a new system and you want to export all of your records from one to another, right now that’s not an easy thing to do.  That would be a huge process and cost a lot of money. But there are people who are moving from one EHR to another, especially now that small EHR vendors are not meeting advanced meaningful use criteria. Physicians are moving to more robust EHRs,” he says.

more...
No comment yet.