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Highlights for the eRx Incentive Program

I’m a numbers kind of guy and so I love all of the data that’s being put out by ONC, CMS and HHS about the incentive money they’re paying. Granted, they’re a little late with some of the data, but at least they’re working towards the goal of more transparency.

CMS just released the data for the 2011 PQRS and eRx incentive program. In 2011, the PQRS and the eRx Incentive Program paid a combined total of $546,782,339. Here are some other report highlights:

Report Highlights for PQRS

  • In the 2011 program year, 280,229 eligible professionals participated individually in PQRS
  • CMS paid a total of $261,733,236 in PQRS incentive payments for the 2011 program year

Report Highlights for the eRx Incentive Program

  • In the 2011 program year, 282,382 eligible professionals participated in the eRx Incentive Program, a 116 percent increase from total participants in 2010
  • CMS paid a total of $285,049,103 in eRx incentive payments for the 2011 program year
  • 135,931 eligible professionals were subject to the 2012 eRx payment adjustment because they either did not qualify for an exemption, did not meet exclusion criteria for the adjustment, or did not meet eRx reporting requirements in the first half of 2011

To review the full report, visit the CMS PQRS website. For more information about PQRS, eRx, and other eHealth initiatives at CMS, visit the CMS eHealth website.

June 12, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.

Preventable Issues Arise When Paper Documentation is Used

It’s an unfortunate truth that the health care system is not fool proof, and mistakes happen. Many of these mistakes happen because of paperwork that is lost, unreadable, or misplaced. Even with the implementation of EMRs across the country, many healthcare providers are still relying on paper for many aspects of their practice. Referral MD created an infographic that shows some of the current problems in healthcare related to using paper documents:

Pretty scary, if you ask me. Doctor’s are notorious for having terrible handwriting, but 7000 patients die a year because of it? And 30 percent of tests have to be reordered because the orders were misplaced? These statistics are startling, in large part because they are preventable. Those are only two of the facts presented in this infographic, and in combination with everything else, it makes me wonder why anyone that has an EMR would still use paper, and why the practices that don’t use EMRs haven’t started. It makes me not want to trust the system even more.

I can see how patients and doctors alike may find it hard to switch over. When I wasn’t given a physical, paper prescription to take to the pharmacy to get my son’s medication, I was a bit taken back, but it made things so much easier when I actually arrived at the pharmacy. I compare that to the many prescriptions and lab orders I lost during my pregnancy because I set it down and forgot to pick it up again, never to find it again until months later while doing some cleaning. It made me really wish my OB/GYN had electronic documents more incorporated into his practice. I’m curious to see if he has any EMR at all. Since he’s been a doctor for 40+ years, maybe he’s having a hard time making the switch.

It’s one thing if a person dies from a terminal illness, but to pass away because of a preventable mistake is uncalled for. I realize that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. But when a mistake could mean someone dying, a patient’s information being misused, or a HIPAA violation occurring, something is wrong. Hopefully as EMRs become better and more practices have them, paper documentation will become a thing of the past, and these mistakes, breeches, and all other issues that are related to using paper, will go that way as well.

November 5, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

PDR Certified Help to Determine EHRs That Meet Minimum Drug Safety Requirements

A new drug safety certification program for EHR and ePrescribing platforms that is supposed to “recognize EHRs that meet minimum drug safety requirements” is in the works, according to a recent press release.

PDR Network, the leading distributor of FDA-approved drug labeling, safety and REMS information, and iHealth Alliance, a not-for-profit organization involved in protecting patients and providers, announced the program, “PDR Certified”, on May 10th. Healthcare providers will be able to determine if the EHR system they use currently or will be purchasing meets minimum drug safety requirements.

Because of the influx of EHRs in recent years, it is more important than ever for there to be certain requirements that must be met to ensure patient and provider safety. Nancy Dickey, the chair of the iHealth Alliance said concerning this:

It is vitally important that these systems include standards for drug safety functionality, and that these standards are easy for busy physicians to identify and understand — fortunately, these goals are shared widely and are in sync with those called for by the FDA.

In order for an EHR vendor to be considered “PDR Certified”, the following functions and features must be included in their product:

1. Full FDA Labeling

2. Drug Alerts and Warnings (Safety Alerts, Boxed Warnings, Recalls and REMS Communications)

3. Adverse Drug Event Reporting

4. FDA-compliant patient education or support services.

Any EHR vendor that becomes “PDR Certified”  can display the logo for “PDR Certified”, which will allow prospective and exisiting customers the opportunity to know they meet requirements above. Dr. David Troxel, Medical Director of the Doctors COmpany, said:

Access to full FDA labeling combined with timely delivery of drug alerts is critical to drug safety in any enviornment but particularly in EHRs which play such a large and growing role in care delivery today. PDR Certification will provide an easy to recognize way for our physician members, and all U.S. providers, to know if they system they are using or evaluating lives up to these drug safety standards.

More information on the program can be found at www.PDRCertified.org.

What do you think of having an EHR Drug Safety certification?

June 15, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

$12.5 million raised for AssureRx Health, Startups Announced That Will Participate at Rock Health in Boston

$12.5 million was recently raised in Series C financing by AssureRx Health Inc. AssureRx, a personalized medicine company, is an Ohio-based startup. The company is a personalized medicine company that specializes in pharmacogenomics and helps physicians figure out correct drugs for patients who suffer from neuropsychiatric and other related disorders.

Four Rivers Group, Claremont Creek Ventures, and Sequoia Capital led the financing; other investors that participated were Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, CincyTech, Allos Ventures, jVen Capital, and Alafi Capital. The funds that were raised will go toward increasing commercial activities for GeneSightRx® Psychotropic and GeneSightRx® ADHD, which are AssureRx’s two flagship pharmacogenomic products.

James S. Burns, president and CEO of AssureRx Health, described the company’s main objectives and what is expected to come from this round of funding:

Our goal is to build the leading clinical informatics company providing pharmacogenomic and other treatment decision support products to help physicians individualize the treatment of patients with neuropsychiatric and other disorderds. Proceeds from the Series C financing will be used to expand sales coverage, sponsor multiple clinical studies, and develop new products to help accelerate our leadership position in psychiatric personalized medicine.

Four Rivers, jVen Capital, and Alafi Capital, some of the investors in this Series C financing, bring along with their investments, connections to help build AssureRx Health’s leadership position in psychiatric pharmacogenomics.

New investors Four Rivers, jVen Capital, and Alafi Capital bring to AssureRx Health further expertise and partnering connections to help AssureRx Health continue building its leadership position in psychiatric pharmacogenomics.

In other news, Rock Health, a San Francisco-based digital health incubator, recently announced which six startups will be participating in the kick-off incubator in Boston this summer. Each of the startups participating will present on August 24th at a demo day. The startups that were selected for the Boston class are:

1. HomeTeam Therapy
2. PrescribableApps
3. NeuroTrack Technologies
4. Neumitra
5. NoviMedicine
6. ZeroSum Health

More information about Rock Health in Boston can be found here.

June 11, 2012 I Written By

Katie Clark is originally from Colorado and currently lives in Utah with her husband and son. She writes primarily for Smart Phone Health Care, but contributes to several Health Care Scene blogs, including EMR Thoughts, EMR and EHR, and EMR and HIPAA. She enjoys learning about Health IT and mHealth, and finding ways to improve her own health along the way.

EMR in the Age of Skype

The physician community has something of a split persona. Doctors are probably the only community still dedicated to using pagers to communicate with their offices. And yet, it’s no secret that the medical establishment is among the fastest growing segment among smartphone and tablet users. A widely quoted statistic from Manhattan Research stated that 81 percent of doctors would own a smartphone. Manhattan now states that the 81 percent rate has already been reached in 2011, while average America is at 40 percent adoption, according to Nielsen.

So, the medical establishment is clearly ahead of the curve in some ways.

But you just have to juxtapose pagers and smartphones against each other to understand the real advantages of the smartphone. If you have an iPhone and your doctor has one too, you’re going to probably take it to the next level, right? Yeah, FaceTime. (Surprisingly enough, that’s not what the statistics show. A full 78 percent of respondents said they didn’t want to chat or IM with their doctors, according to this recent article on Technology Review.)

For this kind of face to face interaction to work, it really depends on how good a rapport you have with your doctor, but if there’s a good doctor-patient relationship, you might just consider making the move. Let’s be clear, doctors are not taking to video-conferencing via Skype or Face-Time in droves (or rather, there are no published statistics from the bean-counting firms about the trend), but there are some anecdotal stories on blogs like Dr. Brian Goldman’s on CBC.ca. But it’s interesting to think ahead to how video consultations might change EMR.

The Pros:
- Direct connection with your doctor, in an instant: Great for the patient, furthers doctor-patient relationship but could be something of a double-edged sword.
- Show, don’t tell: For those times, when you don’t know whether a symptom needs an in-office visit, or when you’re not in town and some conference magic and ePrescribing can save the day.
- No more Lost in Translation: The paging process has that additional office staff layer in between, who convey your message to the doctor. It’s tempting to think that you can axe the middleman with Skype.

The Cons:
- Direct connection with your doctor, in an instant: How long before patients are calling at all hours of the night demanding FaceTime? Blackberries and iPhones might simply be another way to tether yourself to your business (Next time you see 24-7 IT support, know that there is a person dreading the Blackberry ping somewhere in the world)
- Too many interruptions spoil the day: Pagers let the doc put off calling till she’s done with the task at hand, not when the patient demands.
- Privacy issues: From an EMR perspective, this is the big kahuna. There are several nuances to consider. The doctor-patient line has to be securely done, with HIPAA in mind. For CYA purposes, video-cons will probably need to be recorded.

Microsoft’s main intent behind its purchase of Skype might be its conferencing features for business, but wouldn’t it be awesome if Skype also showed up in HealthVault (which only has image saving capabilities so far, according to this Q&A on MSDN forums)? Or if any advice dispensed via Skype could be saved into your doc’s EMR system and become part of your health profile. There are several possibilities out there when you throw video into the mix, and they seem quite interesting.

September 12, 2011 I Written By

Priya Ramachandran is a Maryland based freelance writer. In a former life, she wrote software code and managed Sarbanes Oxley related audits for IT departments. She now writes about healthcare, science and technology as well as traditional news features.

ePrescibing Errors Similar to Handwritten Prescriptions


New Post: E-prescribing Has Similar Error Rate To Hand-Written Prescriptions: About 10% of computer-generated pr… http://bit.ly/oNKH5H
@drval
drval

This is an interesting piece of news. However, is anyone really surprised by it? Basically it says that when humans enter something, then they are prone to make mistakes. It doesn’t matter whether its on a computer or handwritten. Sounds about right to me. We’re human and we make mistakes.

Of course, the real question is going forward what can EMR vendors and ePrescribing companies do to change this result?

I also wish the study revealed which ePrescribing software had better results.

July 11, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 14 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John launched two new companies: InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com, and is an advisor to docBeat. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and Google Plus.