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ICD-10, Meaningful Use among AMA's top issues of 2015

ICD-10, Meaningful Use among AMA's top issues of 2015 | Healthcare and Technology news |

Implementation of ICD-10 ranks among the top 10 issues for physicians to watch in 2015, according to a list published by the American Medical Association.

The list notes that myriad regulatory requirements, which take time away from patient care, are among physicians' greatest frustrations. Relief from the multiple government mandates was among the three "Congressional Asks"--formal requests that HIMSS made to Congress in September to advance health IT.

The list also includes pushing for solutions to the one-size-fits all Meaningful Use program, continuing efforts to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, tackling prescription drug abuse, transforming medical education, and increasing professional satisfaction and sustainability of practices.

AMA President Robert Wah, in an address to the organization's House of Delegates in November that referenced "Star Wars," made jokes about the new code set, saying that the association wants to "freeze it in carbonite." The speech drew the ire of the ICD-10 Coalition.

Though another ICD-10 delay never materialized in a $157 billion fiscal 2015 spending bill passed in December, the National Physicians' Council for Healthcare Policy and the Texas Medical Association continue to push for a two-year delay.

AMA doesn't see any more delays as likely, and is urging practitioners to ensure they are prepared for implementation of the new code set, offering help through planning tools, guides and training.

AMA has pushed for end-to-end ICD-10 testing, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced would take place from Jan. 26-30, April 26-May 1, and July 20-24.

Last month, CMS revealed that acceptance rates during the November ICD-10 acknowledgement testing week improved to 87 percent. More acknowledgement testing will take place from March 2-6 and June 1-5. Acknowledgement testing is open to all electronic submitters and they receive electronic confirmation that the claims were accepted. End-to-end testing is limited to a smaller sample of submitters who volunteer and are selected to take part.

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Millennials want personal health records on the go | Healthcare IT News

Millennials want personal health records on the go | Healthcare IT News | Healthcare and Technology news |

Could younger patients be the key to achieving Stage 2 meaningful use patient access requirements? A new report finds strong desire for online medical records among the 18- to 34-year-old generation, with 43 percent of millennials saying they want to access their portals via smartphone.

In its fifth annual survey on the usage of electronic health records, Xerox sees more and more Americans expecting and demanding online access to health data. While aging Baby Boomers are showing keen interest in online access, Millennials are also increasingly expecting they can see their medical information where and when they want it.

The poll shows that the younger generation is much more interested in their medical records (to the tune of 57 percent) than any other content contained in online patient portals. They also say they'd like more personalized recommendations to improve their health and tips about additional services from their doctor (44 percent each).

The survey of 2,017 U.S. adults found that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those polled don't use online patient portals at all; still, more than half of that group (57 percent) say they'd be much more interested and proactive in their personal healthcare if they had online access to their medical records.

Many patients are unaware that such tools even exist, according to the report. Among those who don't use patient portals, 35 percent didn't know they were available to them and 31 percent said their physician had never mentioned them. Among Americans who do use PHRs, meanwhile, 59 percent say they have been much more interested and proactive in their personal healthcare since they received access.

"With providers facing regulatory changes, mounting costs, and patients who increasingly seek access to more information, our survey points to an opportunity to address issues by simply opening dialogue with patients about patient portals," said Tamara St. Claire, chief innovation officer of Xerox's commercial healthcare division, in a press statement.

With Stage 2 meaningful use's 5 percent view/download/transmit requirements still vexing many providers, the survey suggests that better educating both Millennials and Baby Boomers about portals could help increase patient engagement, accoding to Xerox.

If Millennials expect easy and mobile access to health records and wellness data, Boomers are more interested in using online access to manage their chronic conditions -- and in even greater numbers than younger, arguably more tech-savvy patients -- the poll shows:

  • Those who don't use PHRs say they'd be more engaged in their care if they received access to medical information online (56 percent of those ages 55 to 64, and 46 percent of those ages 65 or older).
  • Those ages 55 to 64 accounted for the highest percentage (83 percent) of Americans who say they already do or would communicate with healthcare providers via a patient portal.
  • Some 70 percent of Boomers say they do or would schedule appointments; 64 percent access/review medical records/test results; 60 percent ask their physicians questions; 58 percent order prescription refills, and 40 percent request a referral.

Providers able to guide "different generations to take advantage of the information available at their fingertips" could see gains in meaningful use readiness and chronic disease management, said St. Claire in a statement. "Educating patients will empower them to participate more fully in their own care while helping providers demonstrate that electronic health records are being used in a meaningful way."

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