HealthLeaders Media IT - July 20, 2010 | CMS Meaningful Use Rules Are Final: Now What?
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CMS Meaningful Use Rules Are Final: Now What?
Gienna Shaw, Technology Editor

Leaders from healthcare organizations and associations, lawyers, consultants, IT vendors, and a host of other experts are slogging their way through all 800-plus pages of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services final rule for the meaningful use of electronic health records. They have plenty of opinions about what's right and what's wrong with the rules. And that's fine. But it's also a good idea to look ahead and think about something more important than what could have or should have been: What happens next? [Read More]
July 20, 2010  
Editor's Picks
HHS Addresses Privacy, Security Concerns in EHR Program
HIPAA privacy and security concerns with the government's EHR certification program are so great that hundreds of practitioners have called for the program's cancellation, the Department of Health & Human Services announced in its final rule on meaningful use. Through its technology standards final rule, HHS addresses privacy and security concerns by requiring organizations to perform risk analyses and correct security deficiencies and by requiring the EHR technology to include among other security functions:
    ?Encryption capabilities
    ?Auditing capabilities including read-only access to patient records
    ?Automatic log-off capabilities
    ?File and message integrity checking
[Read More]

The Cost/Quality Conundrum: Imaging
This article, the first in a three-part series on the cost, effectiveness, and utilization of healthcare technologies, looks at imaging, which has come under scrutiny in the cost-benefit debate. On the plus side, advances in imaging have led to earlier detection and improved quality of care. But it's also an area rife with overutilization, often driven by defensive medicine. And some argue that advances in imaging technologies do not bring a return on investment in the form of improved outcomes. As the debate over the costs and benefits of imaging technology continues, some voices are calling for increased innovation as the key to striking a balance between cost and quality. [Read More]

Navigating Cancer with Touchable Tech
St. Joseph's Health System in Orange, CA, is making personal health data accessible to newly diagnosed cancer patients via an interactive device that looks like a coffee table and serves up the patient's data. Bonus features include 3-D anatomical images which can be annotated to show exactly where a lump is located on the patient's body and where an incision might be done. Using the device's touchscreen, patients and physicians can open, enlarge, rotate, and make notes on the patient's radiology images, for example, and share files with each other by "dragging" them into folders. It even makes an audio recording of the conversation between caregiver and patient for later reference. [Read More]

FCC Proposal Would Expand Broadband to Rural Healthcare Providers
Proposed FCC rules would allocate $400 million to improve Internet connectivity in rural areas so that patients can get access to advanced healthcare no matter where they live, the FCC said Friday. The money, to be allocated under the Universal Service Rural Health Care Broadband Reform program, is in addition to $795 million in stimulus funds, some of which will help hospitals in four areas expand broadband infrastructure.[Read More]

FDA Criticized for Unsafe Medical Device Approval Process
Eight serious loopholes and cracks in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval process allow potentially unsafe, ineffective, yet high-risk machines and materials to be approved for use on patients, according to an article by the advocacy group Public Citizen. "Discretion has been applied in an expansive manner favorable to industry," the authors say. [Read More]
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Tech Headlines
Milwaukee hospitals above average in CT scans
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 17, 2010

Pumps like Cheney's can extend lives of patients with congestive heart failure
The Washington Post, July 16, 2010

MA hospital files with data of 800,000 are missing
Boston Globe, July 20, 2010

Iron Mountain launches into medical records space
Mass High Tech, July 20, 2010

American Hospital Association awards Washington hospitals 'most wired' distinction
The Wenatchee World, July 20, 2010

Feds to spend $144M to train health IT workers
Computerworld, July 16, 2010
July 15: A Better Way Than Pay For Call Coverage
July 22: Marketing to Physicians: Increase Sales Success Through Measurement and Tracking

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Medical Device Makers: Stop Griping and Embrace Healthcare Reform: During the national healthcare reform debate, many in the medical device industry strenuously objected to contributing their "fair share" to reform through a new tax on their devices. While other healthcare stakeholders accepted the notion of shared sacrifice and agreed to give up collective hundreds of billions of dollars, device companies warned that a new tax would force them to pass on the additional cost to hospitals and patients. And the protests haven't stopped. [Read More]