Frankenstorm Emphasizes the Value of Community Health Surveillance

Weather forecasters are predicting that the remnants of Hurricane Sandy will hit the east coast hard this week—a one/two punch of a winter weather system and weakening hurricane. Utilizing Community Health Surveillance during this time will help public health departments to prepare, monitor, investigate, and respond to any threats.

In the fall of 2011, New Jersey faced a similarly daunting weather emergency when Hurricane Irene came barreling up the coast. New Jersey utilized the EpiCenter Community Health Surveillance system, and its custom classifiers functionality, to learn more about a specific after-effect of the hurricane—an increase in carbon monoxide poisoning due to the use of portable gas-powered generators.

Teresa Hamby, MSPH, Data Analyst in the Communicable Disease Service of the New Jersey Department of Health & Senior Services, presented the findings of the carbon monoxide/hurricane connection at the CSTE conference in Omaha this year—and discussed how the findings will be used in an article this past summer.

Analysts Forecast EHR Systems Market Will Continue to Grow

According to EMR Daily News, market research company TechNavio prepared a report stating that analysts believe that the EHR Systems market in North America will see an annual growth rate of 7.85% through 2015.

“One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the increase in government support,” according to the article.

The findings were presented following an in-depth market analysis with input from industry experts. EMR Daily News states that issues addressed in the report include key market trends, challenges to market growth, key vendors in the market space, and strengths/weaknesses of those key vendors.

Read more at EMR Daily News or download the complete report.

Just Say No to Meaningful Use Fraud

It’s been nearly 40 years since Nancy Reagan encouraged Americans to “just say no” to misuse of drugs. But the Obama administration has recently issued a new “just say no” statement—stating it will not tolerate cheating when it comes to Medicaid Meaningful Use reimbursements.

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The Election and IT Funding

The next month could be the start of some big changes in healthcare IT. As public health professionals know, politics plays a major role in healthcare IT funding—and depending on which candidate is elected, things could continue down the same path or move in a new direction.

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EHR Software Standardization Can Lead to Greater Innovation

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) held its annual conference at the beginning of October, and the topic of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) was high on the discussion list.

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Meaningful Use: Perspectives from A Health System’s CIO

EHR Intelligence recently published an interview with Lee Roath, System CIO of Benefis Health Systems. The interview provides insight into the struggles that health systems face when implementing Meaningful Use requirements.

While Roath believes that meaningful use has “ensured greater safety” for the population his hospital represents, implementation costs have limited his organization’s ability to make other upgrades in the facility.

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The Politics of Health IT

With the presidential election quickly approaching, healthcare professionals may have a new reason to closely follow the results. Politics has played a major role in Health IT funding over the past 8 years—starting in 2004 when President George W. Bush doubled funding for federal demonstration projects on healthcare.

According to Healthcare IT news, Bush also recommended the adoption of EHRs within 10 years and created the sub-Cabinet position of National Coordinator for Health Information Technology—to make these goals a reality.

In 2009 President Obama signed the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act”. This Act is estimated to top $800 Billion in stimulus spending over 10 years and has been the primary funding source for CMS’s EHR Meaningful Use reimbursements which have totaled over $7 billion to date.

View the Healthcare IT News slideshows “Health IT Held Hostage to Politics” for a review of the past eight years’ ups and downs in funding—as well as the recent call to halt the EHR incentive program.

Survey: Physicians looking for meaningful information – not more data!

At a recent Bipartisan Policy Center briefing, former Senator Bill Frist, MD, discussed the results of physician surveys regarding HIEs. The center released two reports: “Clinician Perspectives on Electronic Health Information Sharing for Transitions of Care” and “Accelerating Electronic Sharing to Improve Quality and Reduce Costs in Health Care.”

The survey asked physicians what type of information they would want access to via an HIE. According to Healthcare IT News, “relevant lab and imaging tests ranked high among all physicians as the type of information they want across the board.” They also wanted to see data on discharge summary reason and summary of care provided.

Interestingly, most physicians did not want more data—just access to the most essential data. They wanted to selectively choose the information that would be placed in a patient’s electronic health record.

See the full article at Healthcare IT News.