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May 14, 2015
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[Webinar] Protecting patient privacy while boosting online patient engagement

Tuesday, June 2nd | 2pm ET / 11am PT

This webinar will examine the latest successful strategies in patient engagement and the steps providers are taking to effectively ensure privacy and security. Reserve Your Spot Today!

Today’s Top Stories
1. Los Angeles County sees success with eConsult program
2. Hospital CEO: ICD-10 delays ‘shackle’ promise of big data
3. Health leaders disappointed in what 21st Century Cures Act lacks
4. Next-generation health IT requires primary care input
5. How one federally qualified health center uses data to improve care

Also Noted:
Spotlight On… Patient-centered medical homes don’t maximize HIT to coordinate care
Fiber-optic microscope delves deeper into brain; ICD-10 testing deadline extended; and much more…


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News From the Fierce Network:
1. Hospitals improve access to mental healthcare services
2. EHR alert significantly boosts HPV vaccination rates
3. IRS raises health savings account limits for 2016


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[Webinar] How to Improve Customer Service at Your Physician Practice

Wednesday, June 3rd | 2pm ET / 11am PT

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Today’s Top News

1. Los Angeles County sees success with eConsult program

By Katie Dvorak Comment | Forward | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

As it becomes more difficult to book appointments with specialists, doctors in the U.S. are turning to the Web to help speed the process for patients.

In Los Angeles County, local officials created a program called eConsult to streamline the referral process. The program, in use at L.A. Care Health Plan, allows for interaction online between physicians and specialists to exchange medical records and images, according to a Kaiser Health News report.

The program was implemented three years ago, and while it hasn’t solved all problems, things have improved because of it, according to KHN.

Through the program, clinicians use guidelines to find out who needs immediate face-to-face appointments with specialists. Those who can wait continue to receive care from their primary care physician through electronic means.

Some issues remain, however, such as patients still requiring face-to-face appointments with specialists and the dearth of ones available to see.

The effort did show that about 30 percent of patients did not need to see a specialist in person, and it now offers physicians a way to communicate with specialists more easily, according to the article. What’s more, the program has shown promise to be a model throughout the U.S., with leaders in Illinois, Alaska and Connecticut showing interested in it, L.A. County Specialty Care Director Paul Giboney, M.D., tells KHN.

Similarly, researchers in Canada also saw success with their own regional Web-based e-consultation service called Champlain BASE (Building Access to Specialists through e-consultation).

In addition, an electronic system installed at Tacoma, Washington-based Franciscan Health System allows employees there to undergo routine medical consultations from the privacy of their own homes.

To learn more:
– read the KHN article

Related Articles:
U.S. doc shortage could hit 90,000 in 10 years
10 steps to setting up a regional e-consult service
Hospital plans to expand employee e-consult service to patients

Read more about: e-consult, L.A. Care Health Plan
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This week’s sponsor is Yorktel.

[Webinar] Telemedicine and Accountable Care: What Your Hospital Should Be Doing
Tuesday, May 26th | 2pm ET / 11am PT

Providers are looking for more innovative ways to deliver care as payment models require they be more accountable for their results. Join us to learn more about deployment strategies for telehealth technology and recommendations for improving ROI. Reserve Your Spot Today!


2. Hospital CEO: ICD-10 delays ‘shackle’ promise of big data

By Katie Dvorak Comment | Forward | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

The delay to implement ICD-10 has put the nation’s children at risk, according to Nemours Children’s Health System CEO David Bailey, M.D., who writes in The Hill that the coding system must be implemented.

ICD-9, he says, does not allow for specifying a condition’s precise location–for instance, right eye, left eye, hand, leg. This, he continues, has left physicians and researchers unable to share important data and knowledge that could improve lives. He adds that transitioning to the new system will give doctors the ability to make better diagnoses and better describe patient progress.

“The updated version has long been used internationally and would be a vital step forward for patients in improving quality measurement, clinical research, and public health surveillance,” Bailey writes.

Currently, ICD-10 must be implemented by Oct. 1 of this year, after being delayed numerous times.

While some, like Bailey, have come out in support of no further delays, others are still looking to move the deadline back. In addition, Rep. Ted Poe of Texas recentlyintroduced a bill to Congress that wouldn’t simply delay the new codeset; it would ban its use outright.

Bailey says the delay has “shackled” the promise of big data “by not having the ability to capture more robust information and provide the best care for children and adults.”

“As healthcare providers and as a nation, we have an obligation to our patients to insist on no further delays,” he says.

To learn more:
– read Bailey’s commentary

Related Articles:
Dear Congress: Don’t greenlight an ICD-10 ban
Legislators back transition to ICD-10
With ICD-10 now on Congress’ radar, it’s put up–not shut up–time
Doc: It’s time to get to work on ICD-10

Read more about: ICD-10
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3. Health leaders disappointed in what 21st Century Cures Act lacks

By Katie Dvorak Comment | Forward | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

The latest iteration of the 21st Century Cures Act, released Wednesday, is seeing criticism from many healthcare organizations–not over what has been added to it, but because of what is still left out.

The legislation is set to be considered next week by the full House Committee on Energy and Commerce, it was announced today after a voice vote by the subcommittee.

“Our time is now,” subcommittee members Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), and Gene Green (D-Texas) said in a statement. “For more than a year we have been listening and diligently working on policies that we believe will truly make a difference in the lives of families and patients. … In the coming days we will continue working to make improvements to this important bill and prepare for a full committee markup next week.”

One new addition to Wednesday’s version of the bill is language on interoperability of health information through electronic health records; this was left out of the previous updated draft released April 30.

The new version requires that electronic health records be interoperable by Jan. 1, 2018; Meaningful Use decertification would await those systems not meeting such a standard. Providers impacted by such an act would be eligible for hardship exemptions to Meaningful Use penalties of no less than 12 months and no more than five years, to be determined by the Department of Health and Human Services on a “case-by-case basis.”

However, the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives is none too pleased with what was not included in the new interoperability section–patient identification. CHIME President and CEO Russell Branzell and Board Chair Charles Christian sent a letter earlier this week asking that better patient identification be included in the newest version, calling it “the most significant challenge” to safe health information exchange.

On Wednesday, once again, the organization asked that it be included.

“Interoperability is a complex, multifaceted problem that will only improve when we have a standardized approach for collecting and sharing data, but that can only occur once a patient has been positively identified,” CHIME said in a statement emailed toFierceHealthIT. “Increasing access to patient data alone will not translate into better patient care. We would encourage the committee to emphasize both the need to increase access and exchange health information, along with the value of being able to use the data to improve care.”

Much like CHIME, the American Telemedicine Association also was disappointed in what the bill left out–language on telehealth.

“It appears that the staff and members of the committee have once again been led by [the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] and the Congressional Budget Office into asking for a study instead of taking real action,” ATA CEO Jonathan Linkous said in a statement.

Linkous went on to call such studies “‘snooze buttons’ that allow CMS to delay any action for years.” The ATA did express hope that Congress will adopt “at least a few measures” to expand access to telemedicine.

In addition to those criticisms, Bradley Merrill Thompson, an attorney with Epstein Becker Green who represents the CDS Coalition and other groups, called updated language pertaining to clinical decision support regulation for the Sensible Oversight for Technology Which Advances Regulatory Efficiency (SOFTWARE) bill too open-ended, in an email to FierceHealthIT.

“The bill does not create a roadmap for innovators to discern whether a given piece of software is regulated or not,” Thompson said. “It simply provides some guidance to [the U.S. Food and Drug Administration] for it to make the decision. We need legislation that is self-executing, that provides the software development community with clear delineation as to what’s in and what’s out.”

To learn more:
– here’s the updated draft legislation (.pdf)
– read the ATA’s statement

Related Articles: 
House updates language for 21st Century Cures Act
CHIME: Patient identification the biggest challenge to safe health data exchange

Read more about: 21st Century Cures Act
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4. Next-generation health IT requires primary care input

By Susan D. Hall Comment | Forward | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
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