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Health IT in the News

by athenahealth Blogmaster,

  • On May 25, we launched PayerView, our annual analysis of performance in the medical claims billing industry. This blogpost explains the particulars but the big news is that Aetna ranked #1 this year among major payers. To learn more about the complex dynamics of the payer-provider relationship and how PayerView is helping to improve it, attend our free webinar on June 15. Register here.
  • Next up, so you’re being peacefully sedated for gall bladder surgery, you start counting down from 100 and the next thing you know, you’re in the recovery room begging the nurse for water but she will only give you a wet towel. Unbeknownst to you, a few hours ago in the OR there was a battle royal between the surgeon and one of the nurses that had to be broken up and everyone had to take a deep breath before they stitched you back up. Don’t believe it? According to the doctors and nurses themselves, bad behavior is fairly common in the health care workplace. The gall bladder scenario might be a bit extreme but the findings are based on a survey of providers who admit a relatively high incidence of what the rest of us would consider “unprofessional” actions. What’s your experience been?
  • If you didn’t already get it, health IT is a big bucks industry. According to this report, spending on Health IT will top $40 billion by the end of this year. What’s behind the outlays? The study by market research outfit RNCOS points to health care reform, ICD-10, and federal incentives to adopt EHRs. There is also “Medicaid enrollment, which is expected to increase by 16 million people by 2019.”
  • Big bucks indeed. According to the Center for Public Integrity, several groups of providers that were deemed unworthy of federal incentive dollars for meaningful use of EHR want a piece of the action. The well-regarded investigative group is reporting that there’s a lobbying effort underway to include some of the medical provider types that were excluded from eligibility. Here’s how it breaks down: “Physicians, chiropractors, dentists, optometrists, podiatrists, psychiatrists and most hospitals were made eligible to receive the incentive payments. But nurses, physician’s assistants, behavioral health providers, home-care practitioners, emergency medical services, long-term care providers, post-acute providers, federally qualified health centers, rural health centers, rehabilitation hospitals and cancer centers were excluded from participation in parts or all of the program.” What do you think? Even if lawmakers are looking for ways not to spend money these days, is it fair to be so selective about eligibility?
  • Due to our association with Dr. Atul Gawande, who recently spoke at our 2011 User Conference, a visitor to athenahealth’s Watertown offices might notice copies of his bestseller “The Checklist Manifesto” on desks and bookshelves throughout. So it was hard not to notice this article from NPR on how the use of simple lists are thought to allow pediatricians, internists and family doctors to provide better care. As you’ll see, the goal is to simplify the processes of care, which is hard to argue against.
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