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All Things EMR

One Small Step for CommonWell, One Giant Leap for Interoperability

John Voith, Director of Transaction ServicesToday, the CommonWell Health Alliance, a non-profit organization that brings together health IT companies to advance health data sharing, has taken the first major step in making those dreams of connectivity a reality. As athenahealth is a founding member of CommonWell, I’m proud to share news that they have entered a new phase of their effort to advance health IT interoperability: CommonWell members can now enter into service agreements that open the door for a broader range of health care providers — and their patients — to benefit from CommonWell’s services.

So what exactly does that mean?

Well, for … Read more

Analytics & Research

Have There Been Lower Vaccination Rates This Flu Season?

Iyue Sung, Director of Core AnalyticsNext week is Thanksgiving, meaning the official start of the holiday season — and the unofficial start of flu season. Reports of production delays for flu vaccines leads to this edition’s question: Have there been lower vaccination rates this year?

Fortunately, data from the athenahealth cloud-based network suggests that the production delays have had minimal impact. These estimates are based on approximately 43 million primary care visits nationally from 2012 and 2014, between the 30th and 46th weeks of the year (week 46 in 2014 ended November 16).

Figure 1 shows the percentage of patient visits that included a flu … Read more

Patient Engagement

Why the Flexibility and Immediacy of Technology Are Essential To My Patients’ Satisfaction

Just about every obstetrician has heard it: “I think that I’m 21 weeks,” or “I think that I’m 26 weeks.” When a pregnant patient walks into the labor and delivery or the emergency room, I can’t rely on “think.” I must be able to pull that information up immediately and be able to tell them, “No, you’re actually this many weeks. This medicine is safe to take during this trimester, but not this trimester.” Patient communication and instant access to patient information are essential aspects of any care — in the field of obstetrics and gynecology, I believe … Read more

All Things EMR

A Walk in the Park, Running from Burnout

There are times when who you are and what you do are inseparable. A photographer views a scene from the camera’s point-of-view even when the camera is not in hand. A police officer assesses situations with an “on duty” reaction, even when off-duty. And a health care professional rarely turn off the knee-jerk reaction to assist when someone requires help. That immediate response moves from Center Stage when the white coat is off, but it never really falls away completely. We tend to view things through the prism of what we do every day. At times it’s a blessing; other … Read more


ICD-10: Do They Mean It This Time?

Dan Haley, athenahealth VP of Government and Regulatory AffairsAs athenahealth’s frequent ‘guy in DC’ I’m always asked the same ICD-10 questions: Is the October 2015 deadline real this time? Are the feds going to punt again? They aren’t ever going to pull the trigger on ICD-10, right?

All reasonable questions, especially after the October 2014 deadline — supposedly a hard-and-fast date — was unceremoniously kicked down the road by a year.

When it comes to ICD-10, providers fall generally into two categories: Those who actually invested time and money to be ready for October 2014, and, having been burnt once badly, are leery of approaching the ICD-10 … Read more

Rocket Fuel