Federal Policy Front
Policy is literally on FHIR! The acronym (pronounced “fire”) is HL7’s new HIT framework, Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources. The alliance behind this initiative is comprised of major industry players calling themselves the Argonaut Project. The group includes five leading EHR vendors (athenahealth, Cerner, Epic, MEDITECH and McKesson) as well as four leading provider innovators (Beth Israel Deaconess, Partners healthcare, Intermountain and Mayo Clinic). The FHIR platform debuted earlier this year at the annual Healthcare Information Management and Systems Society convention.
Source: Modern Healthcare 12/4/14
ACO’s are getting a reprieve as CMS has delayed the penalty phase of ACO incentives for three more years. Aimed at preventing more ACO’s from exiting the program, the new structure may allow more organizations to stay in the program as they build infrastructure and workflows around achieving the outcomes and efficiencies they are designed for.
Source: Modern Healthcare 12/1/14
Kaiser virtual-visits growth shows the technology’s potential
Many of Kaiser Permanente’s regional systems are already performing greater than 50% of visits virtually—through mobile, or secure messaging, or video, Jamie Ferguson, the system’s vice president of health IT strategy and policy, said at an IT event this week. That figure demonstrates that Kaiser is picking up the pace of virtual visit technology and will likely meet or exceed their virtual visit goals set through 2016. A recent report from consultancy Deloitte estimates that 75 virtual visits will have occurred in North America in the year 2014.
Source: Modern Healthcare, 12/4/14
Going mobile: Providers deploy apps and devices to engage patients and cut costs
Nurse Anita McCole loves Bluetooth-enabled scales for monitoring patients’ weights at home. The devices wirelessly transmit the weights of congestive heart-failure patients to a mobile receiver or smartphone, which sends the daily readings to McCole, a case manager at Geisinger Health Plan, Danville, Pa. The computerized system, made by AMC Health, automates what once was a less reliable, labor-intensive process of getting heart-failure patients to track and report their weights. Combining the wireless scales, voice-response communications, mobile devices and data-analytics technology into Geisinger’s case-management program led to staggering reduction rates in readmissions and costs. These savings produced more than a three-fold return on Geisinger’s initial investment in the technology, according to Doreen Salek, Director of Population Management Partners at Geisinger Health. Statistics indicate that the number of organizations that have systems enabling real-time interactions between patient and providers as well as mobile technology are on the rise despite obstacles in insurance payment for such systems.
Source: Modern Healthcare, 11/29/14
New Jersey hospital launches storefront modeled on Apple Genius Bar
Morristown Medical Center, a part of Atlantic Health system, and located in New Jersey is opening a storefront in its lobby, modeled on the Apple Genius Bar, in an effort to help patients better utilize health apps and other emerging digital health technologies to manage their personal care.
The storefront, dubbed HealtheConnect, will be staffed by full-time experts who will assist patients with questions via smart phones, tablets and laptops. The hospital, among the first in the technology retail sector, is tapping into the rising market of consumer-driven mobile health products. Patients will learn to upload and comprehend data from an array of compatible devices as well as utilize charging stations and a convenient purchase point for smart phone accessories.
Source: MedCity News, 12/3/14
Image of the Week: HealtheConnect Hospital-Based “Genius Bar” to Connect Patients with Heath Tech & Apps