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New EHR Attestation Deadline for Eligible Professionals: March 31, 2014

I just got the following update to meaningful use deadlines from CMS:

CMS is extending the deadline for eligible professionals to attest to meaningful use for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program 2013 reporting year from 11:59 pm ET on February 28, 2014 to 11:59 pm ET March 31, 2014.

In addition, CMS is offering assistance to eligible hospitals who may have experienced difficulty attesting to submit their attestation retroactively and avoid the 2015 payment adjustment.

This extension will allow more time for providers to submit their meaningful use data and receive an incentive payment for the 2013 program year, as well as avoid the 2015 payment adjustment.

This extension does not impact the deadlines for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program or any other CMS program, including the electronic submission for the Physician Quality Reporting System EHR Incentive Program Pilot.

February 7, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently 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.

Timeline and Details of Medicare EHR Penalties

Eligible professionals (EPs) participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program may be subject to payment adjustments beginning on January 1, 2015. CMS will determine the payment adjustment based on meaningful use data submitted prior to the 2015 calendar year. EPs must demonstrate meaningful use prior to 2015 to avoid payment adjustments.

Determine how your EHR Incentive Program participation start year will affect the 2015 payment adjustments:

If you began in 2011 or 2012…
If you first demonstrated meaningful use in 2011 or 2012, you must demonstrate meaningful use for a full year in 2013 to avoid the payment adjustment in 2015.

If you began in 2013…
If you first demonstrate meaningful use in 2013, you must demonstrate meaningful use for a 90-day reporting period in 2013 to avoid the payment adjustment in 2015.

If you plan to begin in 2014…
If you first demonstrate meaningful use in 2014, you must demonstrate meaningful use for a 90-day reporting period in 2014 to avoid the payment adjustment in 2015. This reporting period must occur in the first 9 months of calendar year 2014, and EPs must attest to meaningful use no later than October 1, 2014, to avoid the payment adjustment.

Avoiding Payment Adjustments in the Future
You must continue to demonstrate meaningful use every year to avoid payment adjustments in subsequent years.

If you are eligible to participate in both the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, you MUST demonstrate meaningful use to avoid the payment adjustments. You may demonstrate meaningful use under either Medicare or Medicaid.

If you are only eligible to participate in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, you are not subject to these payment adjustments.

February 3, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently 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.

HIMSS Healthcare Provider Innovation Infographic

Today, HIMSS and AVIA released the 2013 Healthcare Provider Innovation Survey, which cites reduced costs, improved patient care and increased patient safety as the primary priorities for healthcare providers when implementing innovative initiatives.

They put together this infographic to display some of the results of the survey:
HIMSS Avia Innovation Survey Infographic

January 31, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently 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.

Final Day for Advanced Registration Pricing for HIMSS 14

Today’s the final day to get the advanced registration pricing to attend HIMSS 2014. I thought many of you might be interested to know this in case you haven’t registered to attend yet. We’ll be at the event again and hosting the 5th Annual New Media Meetup at HIMSS.

Here’s the HIMSS notice about the final day to register at the discounted price.

Time’s running out to save on registration fees for HIMSS14.Advanced registration discount ends Monday, January 27.

Don’t miss this opportunity — to save and to be there — when health IT professionals from around the globe converge on Orlando for the best in educationnetworkingsolutions and more.

Be sure to check out the latest HIMSS14 brochure for a preview of the education sessions and the activities that can help you and your organization take advantage of the value gained from health IT.

Register by January 27 and save!

January 27, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently 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.

McKesson and Meditech Named as First “Test EHRs” by CMS and ONC

CMS and ONC just announced the first two “Test EHRs” are McKesson and Meditech. Here’s the details of their announcement:

As part of our and CMS’ ongoing effort to improve interoperability among certified Electronic Health Records Technology (CEHRT), we are pleased to announce McKesson and Meditech are the first two “Test EHRs,” selected from among certified EHRs. We strongly encourage others in the EHR technology developer community to participate in the program to become a CMS designated test EHR.

Under Stage 2 of Meaningful Use transition of care objective measure #3 [PDF - 218 KB]eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals/critical access hospitals (CAHs) must either:

- Conduct one or more successful electronic exchanges of a summary of care document, with a recipient who has EHR technology designed by a different EHR technology developer than the sender’s.

Or

- Conduct one or more successful tests with the CMS designated test EHR during the EHR reporting period

ONC and NIST conducted a pilot that ran from September through November of last year to finalize the test procedures. The pilot participants were AthenaHealthMcKesson andMeditech.

To find out more about becoming a CMS designated test EHR, read the “EHR Technology Developers” section of the FAQs on becoming a CMS designated test EHR and the “Developer Participant Information for Cross Vendor Exchange” document.

I find it interesting that AthenaHealth was a pilot participant, but isn’t one of the official “Test EHRs.” I wondered what happened there. Looks like a lot of EHR vendors will be able to at least connect to McKesson and Meditech.

January 16, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently 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.

New ONC Coordinator – Dr. Karen DeSalvo

Today it was announced that Dr. Karen DeSalvo would be the replacement to the beloved Former National Coordinator for Health IT, Farzad Mostashari. It seems that Dr. DeSalvo has an interesting history currently working as Health Commissioner for the City of New Orleans and Senior Health Policy Advisor to the New Orleans Mayor. She also has served as a member of the Steering Committee for the Crescent City Beacon Community grant.

I love Jacob Reider’s note to his ONC colleagues after serving as Acting National Coordinator:

I have been honored to serve as your Acting National Coordinator. Every minute has been inspiring, educational, and energizing. Both Lisa and I appreciate all of the support each and every one of you have given us and will give to Karen. The work of “team ONC” is a product of every team member contributing as much as we can toward our shared goals. As the baseball fans among you may recall, David Murphy, an outfielder for the Texas Rangers, was called upon to pitch in a game against the Red Sox last Summer. Like Murphy’s experience, our success has been a product of the team’s hard work and support rather than my personal achievements as your leader. As my tenure as your National Coordinator is now drawing to a close, I will return to the outfield where I am proud to serve as your Chief Medical Officer, and continue to work hard with you. We have a great team, great mission-driven people, and an incredible opportunity to change our world for the better.

I think the ONC is a great team that has the right ambitions and goals. Karen certainly has a tough act to follow. Plus, health IT is entering a new era in its history. I wish her the best of luck as she takes on this challenging position.

December 19, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently 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.

Creatively Awesome Video – Caregiving for Santa Clause

I’m always a fan of a company that uses a little creativity to promote what they’re working on. There’s nothing like giving someone a good laugh while also educating them on what you do. A great example of this just hit my inbox. It’s brought to us by CareTree in the form of a video called “CareTree Is Everywhere: Even at the North Pole!”

The video gives a humorous look at what it must be like for Mrs. Clause to deal with Santa Clause’s various health issues. My favorite part of the video is when Mrs. Clause refers to the healthcare exchanges and says, “They’re on the naughty list in case you were wondering.”

Enjoy the video below:

December 17, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently 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.

Sometimes It’s the Little Things – Scanner Maintenance

There are a lot of features and functions in healthcare IT that don’t get talked about very much. The reason they don’t get talked about is because they aren’t “sexy.” While many of the healthcare IT tasks that need to be done aren’t “sexy” to talk about, they’re extremely important if you want your end users to be happy.

Check out this post on Scary Health Care IT Upgrades We Don’t Talk About to see some of the less exciting, but incredibly important IT tasks that have to be done in healthcare. Much like it’s not very exciting to talk about SAN Upgrades or core switch firmware upgrades, you very rarely see someone talk about scanner maintenance. However, it can make your user’s IT experience miserable if you don’t handle it properly.
DR-C125
The reason most IT people forget about scanner maintenance is that they rarely have to scan much in their jobs. As an IT professional, you and your colleagues exchange information electronically and so while you might scan something on occasion, you aren’t scanning paper daily. With such a low scanning load, you usually don’t have a high volume scanner on your desk that needs to be maintained. Plus, even if you did, you wouldn’t scan enough to need to do maintenance. The opposite is true for many in healthcare who find themselves scanning paper into the EHR every day.

I admit that I know this to be the case, because I was the naive IT support person who didn’t realize that regular scanner maintenance was important. In fact, I didn’t discover this until my HIM staff started complaining about the scanner not working very well. That’s the other key to this problem. Unlike other maintenance, a poorly maintained scanner still works but just not very well. The scanner’s ability to feed in the paper, not jam, etc slowly deteriorates over time. So, the end user doesn’t usually ask for help until after they’ve dealt with the “finicky” scanner for months.

In most cases, it’s not the scanners fault at all. Instead, the problem is poor scanner maintenance. The great part is that this is an easy problem to solve. I won’t dig into the detail of how to maintain your scanner. Spend 5-10 minutes in your scanner’s book (find it online if you through it out) and it will tell you what you need to do. Also, not all scanners can be cleaned, but if you have a scanner like the Canon DR-C125 or equivalent, then a little maintenance keeps them running better.

The maintenance on a scanner is usually quite simple. You just clean out the inside and change out the rollers after so many scans (varies depending on the scanner). In many ways it’s like a car. You know what happens when you don’t change the oil in your car. It’s bad news. The same is true when you don’t maintain your scanner.

You don’t want to hear from the HIM or nursing staff when you forgot to “change the oil” on their scanner. That’s not pretty and often requires a box of donuts. The nice part is that with regular scanner maintenance, these scanners will last a long time under a heavy load. Do you practice good scanner hygiene in your organization?

Sponsored by Canon U.S.A., Inc.  Canon’s extensive scanner product line enables businesses worldwide to capture, store and distribute information.

December 5, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently 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.

Will Texans Own Their DNA? Greg Abbott, Candidate for Governor, Thinks They Should

The following is a guest post by Dr. Deborah Peel, Founder of Patient Privacy Rights.

On November 12th, Abbott released his “We the People Plan” for Texas. Clearly he’s heard from Texans who want tough new health data privacy protections.

Topping his list are four terrific privacy recommendations for health and genetic data:

  • “Recognize a property right in one’s own DNA.”
  • “Make state agencies, before selling database information, acquire the consent of any individual whose data is to be released.”
  • “Prohibit data resale and anonymous purchasing by third parties.”
  • “Prohibit the use of cross referencing techniques to identify individuals whose data is used as a larger set of information in an online data base.”

The federal Omnibus Privacy Rule operationalized the technology section of the stimulus bill. It also clarified that state legislatures can pass data privacy laws that are stronger than HIPAA (which is a very weak floor for data protections).

Texans would overwhelmingly support the new state data protection laws Abbott recommends . If elected, hopefully Abbott would also include strong enforcement and penalties for violations. Contracts don’t enforce themselves. External auditing and proof of trustworthy practices should be required.

Is this the beginning of a national trend?  I think so. The more people know about today’s health IT, the more they will reject electronic systems and data exchanges designed for the hidden use and sale of sensitive personal health data.

November 26, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently 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.

EMR and Privacy

I’ve recently engaged Dr. Deborah Peel, Founder of the Patient Privacy Rights organization, in a number of really interesting discussions around patient privacy. For those who aren’t familiar with Dr. Peel, she’s the most passionate patient privacy advocate in the world. While I don’t always agree with Dr. Peel’s views on patient privacy, I always love to hear what she has to say and I think we need more people like her in healthcare to make the case for something they think is really important.

With this said, Dr. Peel recently told me about a Wall Street Journal Experts chat she was on where they discussed EMR and privacy. You can see the video embedded below (Dr. Salwitz had sound issues, so after the intro you might want to skip to 4 minutes):

Dr. Peel also told me about an ONC event that she’ll be attending to talk about a really important topic: Patient IDs. When you’re talking privacy, the patient ID discussion is a very important one. Here’s the info if this is a discussion that you think is important. Plus, if enough people register, they’ll stream the event for everyone to watch online.

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) invites organizations with an interest in improving the accuracy of electronic patient identification and matching to attend a meeting in Washington, D.C. on December 16, 2013.
The Patient Matching Stakeholder Meeting will be held from 10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Patriot Plaza III, 355 E Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024.
Registration is now open –
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1iqgChkhhXj-Jpx99jfI7No9I_RuzviNEN6bsyuHgxdU/viewform

The agenda will include:
– Updates on the recent industry environmental scan on patient identification and matching, conducted by Audacious Inquiry on behalf of ONC;
– Sharing of initial recommendations for improving patient matching rates, derived from input from a wide range of stakeholders;
– Interactive discussions around emerging ideas to improve the processes of data collection, data validation, and other ways to help ensure accurate patient identification and matching, as electronic exchange of health information increases across the country; and
– Opportunities for all sectors to provide further feedback, including: large and small health care organizations, software and hardware health IT vendors, federal agencies, patient safety and privacy advocates, associations, and state and regional health information organizations.

We are exploring the possibility of providing webinar/videoconferencing capabilities to expand participation. Please register now, even if you plan to attend remotely, and we will follow up with more information.

November 20, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 5000 articles with John having written over 2000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 9.3 million times. John also recently 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.