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Health IT in the News

by athenahealth Blogmaster,

  • Breaking news as we were getting to launch this post: Accountable Care Organization Regulations Released! Here’s an earlier explanation from NPR and a fact sheet from the government. Check out this explanatory piece from CMS chief Donald Berwick, MD, MPP. Stay tuned for details about our ACO webinar.
  • There was also the ONC release of a draft federal health information technology strategic plan for 2011 to 2015. According to Dr. David Blumenthal’s ONC blog, “This new era creates opportunities to transform the health care system by improving the flow of information through health IT. Meaningful use [of an EHR] is currently aimed at widespread adoption and information exchange, and ultimately at improving health care outcomes.” There are several comments on the ONC blog already. And for the quick check, blogger, CIO and ER doctor extraordinaire John Halamka says “Overall the Federal Strategic plan is a winner - it melds Meaningful Use, Certification, Health Information Exchange, PCAST, and the Institute of Medicine work on creating a learning healthcare system.”  The public comment period on the draft plan is open until April 22.
  • A quick (related) headline: CMS has paid out $37.6m in EHR incentives so far.
  • Attestation for the Meaningful Use of an EHR under the Medicare incentive program begins on April 18th. What does that mean? Here’s how CMS explains in its preview: “During Attestation, eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals report numerator, denominator, and exclusion results (if applicable) for the meaningful use objectives and attest that they have successfully met the requirements of the program.” If that makes no sense and you are in an eligible medical practice, it’s time to find a service-based vendor that can help get you to Meaningful Use.
  • It may be a small state known more for its mountains, maple syrup and cows but there were two EHR stories out of the Green Mountain state this week that show how efforts there are building toward a national health information exchange. Vermont Public Radio reports that the Rutland Regional Medical Center just went live on an EHR, allowing the emergency room to ditch its erasable whiteboard for electrons. And the Times Argus news ties the go-live in Rutland into the effort by VITL to create viable health information exchange.
  • Those who spend a lot of time in social media marketing on behalf of their employer or on their own behalf, will know about the Mashable website. It was particularly gratifying to see an article there this week on how the cloud is safe for data, which some have expressed concerns about. The CTO author writes, “Think about it: Data is lost when an organization loses control over it, including how it’s stored, how it’s transmitted, and what end users do with it. Clouds, and the virtualization technologies on which they run, give you back that control, from data center to delivery to endpoint.” And data security (in our cloud-based model) is something our general counsel has been writing about lately in this blog.
  • If you are in the Boston area on April 7, our Chief Operating Officer Ed Park will be speaking at MIT on “athenahealth's own hack on the health care industry” for the improvement of health care. Presenting together with Zen Chu, Entrepreneur in Residence at MIT, the two “will lay out a visual landscape for the health care industry” and the opportunities make improvements.
  • Finally, a list of people we all might like to know a little better--the top 25 health care chief information officers. Take notes.
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