Why is the usability of Electronic Health Records so far from perfection?

by Vitaly Herasevich, MD, PhD, MSc, CPHIMS, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Medicine, Mayo Clinic

Nation-wide EHR implementation is moving forward and there is no doubt anymore that the EHR is a helpful tool in patient care. From a historical perspective, modern electronic medical records originated during the 1980s when personal computers and computer networks were more widely available. Initial use of computers in healthcare at that time was to link to billing systems and administration support as Medical practice management software (PMS). As time progressed, elements of physicians’ and nurses’ documentation (integrated into the hospital databases) medical devices, laboratory, radiology and other external clinical data still did not connect with the “main” EHR at that time. Over time, new modules and functionality were added. All of this led to the increasing complexity in database infrastructure and interfaces that required improved functionality and workflow.

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ONC CDS Improving Hypertension Challenge

Evidence continues to accumulate that demonstrates how the utilization of health IT, specifically clinical decision support applications can lead to improved patient outcomes. ONC is now looking to award and replicate those stories. In support of the HHS “Million Hearts Initiative,” ONC announced the EHR Innovations for Improving Hypertension Challenge.  In addition to providing awards and recognition to showcase how clinical practices can use health IT to reduce high blood pressure, the challenge will gather and speed dissemination of CDS tools used to successfully improve practice-wide blood pressure control . ONC will award $5,000 to up to four Phase 1 winners and $30,000 for one Phase 2 winner.

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Educating and Engaging Patients Through Medical Destination Program

By Sherri Dorfman
Sherri Dorfman is CEO, Stepping Stone Partners focuses on Connected Health, leveraging technology and data for patient engagement, care collaboration and decision support. She blogs at consumerehealthengagement.com. Sherri is a member of the HIMSS Value of Provider-Patient Engagement Task Force.

In October 2012, Mercy Hospital Springfield of Missouri, and two other health systems launched a Centers of Excellence program with a major retailer to provide spine care for associates and their family members covered by the company’s medical plans. When an associate choses to receive care at a Center of Excellence, they do not pay any out-of-pocket costs. In addition, the retailer picks up the tab for travel, lodging and food for the patient and caregiver. Mercy was chosen based on three factors: ethics, quality and value. Mercy Hospital is a Stage 6 Hospital in the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model (EMRAM).

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Lifelong Learning – What’s the Big Deal?

Regardless of your position in a health IT setting, lifelong learning is more than a necessity: it’s a requirement.  A requirement to ensure that you maintain existing skills, learn new skills, and that you continuously develop as a well-rounded health IT professional.  Continue reading

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What’s your first step into civilian life?

Many veterans joined the military right out of high school.  Some wanted to escape small town life and knew military service would be a great way to travel and see the world while others join immediately so they could reap the educational benefits and afford to pay for college after their service commitment.  Now, four, ten, or twenty years have passed and it is time to transition from military service to the corporate world.  What’s your first step?

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PSST! Critical Privacy and Security Contract Provisions

Here is latest monthly blog from the HIMSS Privacy and Security Committee…called PSST!  Keep reading to learn more about this month’s topic –Critical Privacy and Security Contract Provisions, by HIMSS P&S Committee members Marlowe Schaeffer-Polk, JD, DO, Physician Advisor for Crozer Keystone Medical Centers, John Phelan, PhD, Principal for Phelan Consultants, Nathan Gibson, CISA, CISSP, MCSE, CPHIMS, Privacy and Security Officer, West Virginia Medical Institute, and Lee Kim, JD, FHIMSS, Director of Privacy and Security at HIMSS.

Covering privacy and security requirements with your business associates can be challenging. There are lists of possible provisions available from many sources, but it can be difficult to identify the critical contract provisions during a negotiation. Ideally, contracts should address potential risks and liabilities and, in particular, what happens when there is a failure to meet expectations or requirements by either the healthcare provider (or other covered entity) or the business associate (or subcontractor).

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Health Information Exchange in Tornado Alley

by: Deepika Patel, Client Support Engineer, Corepoint Health
HIE Toolkit Task Force

We usually associate “Tornado Alley” with north Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Iowa – disasters like the Joplin tornado of 2011 and both the 1999 and 2013 Oklahoma tornadoes stand out in our collective memory.  But there are many other states that are affected by tornadoes.  Over 400 tornadoes have been confirmed across the US so far this year, with 113 in April alone.

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A CCHIT Conversation – Challenges of ONC HIT Certification

by Alisa Ray, Executive Director, CCHIT  

As many readers of this blog know, CCHIT is no longer certifying EHR technology in the ONC HIT Certification Program.  Rather, we are devoting our efforts to helping our health IT community navigate the complexities of the current round of testing and achieving certification.

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For the Thought of a Bite of Chocolate

All Jan Scheuermann wanted was to have a bite of chocolate. That is not true. There were many more things Jan wanted, like to lift up her children, like to hold her husband’s hand, even to pump her fist in the air every time Jerome Bettis make a touchdown, but a bite of chocolate stayed there, a formerly simple pleasure always in the back of her mind. Simple pleasures became a lot less simple for Jan in 2000, when problems walking led to a rare diagnosis of spinocerebellar degeneration. By 2012, Jan could, as, as Antonio Regalado in his June 17  article in the MIT Technology Review “The Thought Experiment” describers her, “…feel her body, but the nerves that carry signals out from her brain no longer work. Her brain says “Move,” but her limbs can’t hear.” But Jan, who in her dreams is not disabled, who jokes with people who are late for meetings by saying “oh, I was just sitting around,” eventually got her piece of chocolate.

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HIMSS vMentors for Veterans Looking to Join the Field of Health IT

The word mentor is derived from Mentor, the name of a wise and trusted counselor in Greek mythology and a character in Homer’s The Odyssey. The word is typically used in correlation to teachers, coaches, peers and those that we form a lasting developmental relationship.  Mentorship provides guidance, knowledge from someone with greater experiences and wisdom, and it encourages a person to grow and develop both professionally and personally.

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