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New ONC Leadership and Organizational Structure

Karen DeSalvo recently announced some changes to the ONC leadership structure. This isn’t surprising since it often happens when there’s a leadership change. Here’s a look at the new ONC leadership organization:

Office of Care Transformation: Kelly Cronin
Office of the Chief Privacy Officer: Joy Pritts
Office of the Chief Operating Officer: Lisa Lewis
Office of the Chief Scientist: Doug Fridsma, MD, PhD
Office of Clinical Quality and Safety: Judy Murphy, RN
Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Analysis: Seth Pazinski
Office of Policy: Jodi Daniel
Office of Programs: Kim Lynch
Office of Public Affairs and Communications: Nora Super
Office of Standards and Technology: Steve Posnack

Each of these leaders will report directly to the Immediate Office of the National Coordinator, which includes Jacob Reider, MD and Karen DeSalvo.

I asked HHS for a short description of what each “Office” will oversee and do. Turns out that they posted the details to the Federal Register. Makes you wonder what else is in the Federal Register that never sees the light of day.

June 3, 2014 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 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

Eligible Professionals: Deadline to Submit Hardship Exception Applications Approaching

Here’s the latest email from CMS on the hardship exception deadline:

Are you a Medicare provider who was unable to successfully demonstrate meaningful use for 2013? CMS is accepting applications for hardship exceptions to avoid the upcoming Medicare payment adjustment for the 2015 reporting year.

Payment adjustments for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program will begin on January 1, 2015 for eligible professionals.

However, you can avoid the adjustment by completing a hardship exception application and providing supporting documentation that proves demonstrating meaningful use would be a significant hardship for you. CMS will review applications to determine whether or not you are granted a hardship exception.

CMS has posted hardship exception applications on the EHR website for:

Applications for the 2015 payment adjustments are due July 1, 2014 for eligible professionals.  If approved, the exception is valid for one year.

New Hardship Exception Tipsheets
You can also avoid payment adjustments by successfully demonstrating meaningful use prior to the payment adjustment. Tipsheets are available on the CMS website that outline when eligible professionals must demonstrate meaningful use in order to avoid the payment adjustments.

May 28, 2014 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 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

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 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

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 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

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 6000 articles with John having written over 3000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

ONC Health IT Infographic

These are some really interesting numbers. The one that hit me is the percentage of doctors and hospitals which were meaningful users of an EHR. We’ll see how that percentage changes over time. No doubt EHR has made huge progress since the EHR incentive money was put in place.

ONC Health IT Infographic

September 25, 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 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

CMS Releases MU Stage 2 Guide

CMS has released a new resource, An Eligible Professional’s Guide to Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs, which provides a comprehensive overview of Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs to eligible professionals. The guide outlines criteria for Stage 2 meaningful use, 2014 clinical quality measure reporting, and 2014 EHR certification.

The guide’s table of contents makes it easy for you to navigate through Stage 2 topics. Interactive tabs included at the bottom of each page allow you to transition between different chapters.

Chapters include:

  • What is Stage 2 of the EHR Incentive Programs?
  • What are the requirements under Stage 2 of Meaningful Use?
  • How will clinical quality measures (CQMs) change?
  • Resources

The guide can be found on the Educational Resources page of the EHR website.

September 17, 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 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

EHR and Data Exchange Study by Farzad Mostashari and ONC Researchers

It’s always good to know who’s behind a study that you’re reading. In this case, it is a study by ONC and they are putting National Coordinator for Health Information Technology Farzad Mostashari’s name on it along with ONC researchers. In one respect, we know that ONC has a bias towards use of health IT. On the other hand they are also the organization with the most information on what’s happening with EHR and exchange of healthcare data. So, take those biases and check out some of the highlights of the study:
· 58 percent of hospitals exchanged data with providers outside their organization in 2012 and hospitals’ exchanges with other hospitals outside their organization more than doubled during the study period.

· Hospitals with basic EHR systems and participating in HIOs (health information organizations) had the highest rates of hospital exchange activity in 2012, regardless of the organizational affiliation of the provider exchanging data or the type of clinical information exchanged.

· The proportion of hospitals that adopted at least a basic EHR and participated in an HIO grew more than fivefold from 2008 to 2012.

· Between 2008 and2012, there were significant increases in the percent of hospitals exchanging radiology reports, laboratory results, clinical care summaries, and medication lists with hospitals and providers outside of their organization.

· 84 percent of hospitals that adopted an EHR and participated in a regional HIO exchanged information with providers outside their organization.

To see state-level estimates for several of the measures included in the new study, visit ONC’s Health IT Adoption and Use dashboard at http://dashboard.healthit.gov/. The abstract of the Health Affairs study can be found at http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/32/8/1346.abstract.

August 5, 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 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

New Certified Health IT Mark from ONC

One of the keys to a good certification is good branding. Think about JD Power and Associates. When you see that brand, you know what it means and what it represents. For EHR software, ONC is likely hoping that their new ONC Certified HIT mark will do something similar for EHR software.

Here’s the mark you should look for to know if an EHR meets the 2014 Edition Standards and Certification criteria:
ONC EHR Certification - Health IT Mark

What’s in a mark? I think it currently serves two purposes. First, it says if that EHR vendor can help you show meaningful use and get the EHR incentive money. This is the most important part of a good mark. The second is that EHR vendors that have this mark will have conformed to the interoperability standards that are set in the EHR certification process. I’m hopeful that this is the most valuable thing that comes out of EHR certification and meaningful use.

The following is the full press release from HHS about the new EHR certification mark.

EHR products must meet standards and certification criteria to be certified

A new mark for certified electronic health records (EHR) technology was unveiled today by the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). The mark will appear on EHR products that have been certified by an ONC-Authorized Certification Body (ONC-ACB) and will indicate that the product meets the 2014 Edition Standards and Certification Criteria.

Eligible professionals and hospitals must demonstrate meaningful use of EHR technology that has been certified under the ONC Health Information Technology (HIT) Certification Program to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payments.

“We’ve reached the tipping point of doctors adopting electronic health record systems and using them to improve patient care,” said Farzad Mostashari, M.D., national coordinator for health information technology. “The use of the ONC Certified HIT mark will help to assure them that the EHR they have purchased will support them in meeting the Meaningful Use requirements.”

Electronic health records technology may be certified by one of four ONC-ACBs accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and authorized by ONC. The mark is a visual cue that the product – whether a complete EHR, an EHR module or another type of health IT product – meets ONC’s applicable certification criteria and can achieve interoperability, functionality and security. For example, the criteria include such requirements as computerized provider order entry (CPOE), drug to drug and drug-allergy checks, and the capability to coordinate clinical information to help improve the quality of patient care, among others.

When the mark is associated with a certified “Complete EHR” it means that the EHR technology can be used without modification to achieve Meaningful Use. A certified EHR module may be combined with other modules to make a complete system. Some modules may include the ability to:

  • ·         Create a standard patient summary care record;
  • ·         Securely transmit summary care records using Direct, a tool created through an ONC-led collaboration with broad health IT industry participation, that allows for the secure exchange of health information over the Internet; and
  • ·         Provide patients with online access to view, download, and transmit their health information to destinations of their choice.

ONC-ACBs will begin to issue the mark to certified EHR products immediately. To learn more about the terms and use of the mark, click here.

July 11, 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 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.

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 13 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit.