America’s Commitments to our Veterans

Last week, President Obama addressed attendees at the American Legion National Convention where we were reminded of the five priorities outlined in pursuit of upholding the sacred trust of more than a million service members who will be returning to civilian life.

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Sharing the Value of Health IT with Policy Makers

 by Esther Kim, Coordinator, Government Relations, HIMSS 

Once a year, HIMSS members and other healthcare leaders travel to Washington, D.C. to visit their legislators and share the value of health IT during personal visits with their legislators. In other words, they advocate for health IT. Continue reading

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You Can’t Outrun a Volcano

We all have our morning routines. Take a shower, make the coffee, wake the kids, walk the dogs. For my wife and me, our morning routine includes eating breakfast and reading the news on our tablets while the one and two year olds quickly destroy the fleeting and wonderful cleanliness of a toy-free living room floor.    As routines often do, its steps become automatic; forming a mental model for our family to share that defines a “normal” morning. Everywhere everyone every morning navigates their own “normal”, a moment of calm before the storm of the day arrives.

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Clinical Decision Support-Meaningful Use and Improved Outcomes

An oft heard statement associated with health IT is “the correct use of clinical decision support tools is a key enabler for quality improvement.” The implementation of clinical decision support interventions related to clinical quality measures is a key Meaningful Use objective. However despite consensus around the importance of clinical decision support in any quality improvement initiative, often providers associate “clinical decision support” only with best practice alerts. CMS has been faced with significant provider confusion over what “clinical decision support” means for Meaningful Use compliance. Meanwhile, providers continue to struggle to optimize CDS technology that drives quality improvement while meeting all federal compliance requirements.

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Efficient Interactions Part II

By Philip Bernard, Director of Physician I.T. Services, University of Kentucky

In my first blog, I explored factors contributing to user dissatisfaction with their EHR. In today’s blog I’ll address how developers can overcome resource limitation and time constraints to improve on their designs.

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Efficient Interactions Part I

by Philip Bernard, Director of Physician I.T. Services, University of Kentucky

Efficient Interactions. HIMSS defines this concept as one of the core components of EHR Usability.

In the 2009 white paper on defining and testing EMR usability, the HIMSS EHR Usability Task Force wrote:

One of the most direct ways to facilitate efficient user interactions is to minimize the number of steps it takes to complete tasks and to provide shortcuts for use by frequent and/or experienced users…Somewhat less obvious factors include attention to minimizing the amount of visual searching required to locate information and the distance the cursor must travel to make selections….

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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 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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