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March 23, 2009 News 2 Comments

CCHIT announces that it will speed up the process for its advanced technology certification programs, including clinical decision support, interoperability, quality, and security. Vendors will need to complete all these options for the 2009-2010 development cycle. The advanced clinical decision support and security components were not scheduled for completion until 2011. The new certification options will be finished by the time the HIT Policy and Standards Committees of HHS meet later this year, thus supporting ARRA’s certification requirements.

Speaking of CCHIT, new ambulatory certifications this month include iSuite Version 4 by MedAppz, SILK 4.2, and UroChart EMR by Intuitive Medical.


Physicians can now access the interactive online community QuantiaMD via their iPhones. QuantiaMD is already available for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile devices users. Question: when, exactly, does a physician access an online community? Most likely not while in the midst of seeing patients. Will clinicians really use a smartphone (instead of a PC) to review a clinical presentation or complete CME activities? What type of applications really make sense for clinician use on an iPhone or BlackBerry?

West Virginia’s optometrists and ophthalmologists are at odds over current legislation that would allow optometrists more authority to prescribe medications and perform minor surgeries. Ophthalmologists claim the legislation would put patients’ health at risk because optometrists are non-physicians with less training. Optometrists claim the current laws are antiquated and stand in the way of lower costs.

HIT leaders caution that providers must be educated on the new HITECH legislation incentives and potential penalties to avoid being hurt financially. Surely there are plenty of vendors and consultants begging for a chance to "educate."

Google will change its in-house employee clinic EHR to WebChart Enterprise EHR from Medical Informatics Engineering. The "minimally invasive EHR" will integrate with Google Health.

The program director for the Office of National Coordinator (ONCHIT) sees problems ahead for the Nationwide Health Information Network. Government systems follow a security standard called FISMA, while practice and hospital EMRs are designed to comply with HIPAA. The problem arises when patient information from the VA or DoD is sent to non-government hospitals and doctors. CCHIT is considering additional vendor certification for FISMA.

Former Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt, now on the board of advisors of PHR vendor MyMedicalRecords (along fellow "formers" astronaut Buzz Aldrin and boxer Sugar Ray Leonard), will pitch the company’s products and try to get stimulus money to subsidize its PHR cost. He’ll be working the company’s booth at the HIMSS conference next Sunday.

This is a KLAS report, not a novel: The Rise of eClinicalWorks: Separating Fact from Fiction, which apparently lauds the company’s user product satisfaction and price-performance, but frets over growth-strapped implementation and support capabilities. You have to buy the report to learn more.

Consultants encourage physicians to use text-messaging to save staff time for such tasks as appointment reminders, lab calls, and follow-ups. Most web-based text applications can be free to set-up with average costs of $200 per month. Between estimated staff time savings of 50 minutes per day per provider, and the potential for increased revenue, texting could add $100,000 a year to the bottom line. Sounds a bit high, but then Mr. H and Inga aren’t big on text messages.

A Las Vegas internal medicine practice is charged with performing an estimated 15,000 unnecessary cholesterol tests on its patients over a three-year period. US attorney’s office claims the physicians overcharged Medicare by $130,000 for tests that were no more useful than performing a "mathematical calculation."  But, everyone knows that drawing blood is more fun that doing math.

In North Carolina, the number of doctors e-prescribing has doubled in the last quarter to over 2,000, according to BCBS of NC. The carrier offers a one-time $1,000 incentive to physicians who agree to submit e-Rxs to at least 20 patients. The state still has a ways to go to cover its 29,000 licensed practitioners.

Several SE Missouri physicians admit that the transition to electronic medical records was difficult, but worth it. A doctor in a three-physician family practice group says the EMR cost $100,000 three years ago, but saved $80,000 in overhead in the first year.

The government’s EHR initiatives appear to be boosting the stock performance of several HIT vendors. NextGen’s parent company Quality Systems, athenahealth, Cerner, and Allscripts-Misys have all outperformed the general market since President Obama was elected.

E-mail Inga.
E-mail Mr. HIStalk.

Comments 2
  • Google’s decision to go with Medical Informatics Engineering’s EMR makes sense. I saw that product demo’d at the TEPR EMR challenge. It’s fast, intuitive, and comprehensive — like eCW on steroids. Not sure about their customer base or client services, but the EMR is impressive.

  • Re: iPhone/smart phone physician apps – When PDAs were all the rage, residents would whip them out like western gunslingers’ six-shooters whenever a question popped (pimped) up. That response has gone the way of the wild west outlaw; not a PDA to be found. They still look to computer brain extenders, but desktops are so pervasive and so much more workflow efficient, residents now head for the nearest PC (and, usually Google.) I’m not convinced of the work-routine-value of current medical apps via smart phones yet.

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