HIT Newser: The Not-So-Big Meaningful Use Stick

flying cadeuciiThis Year’s Meaningful Use “Sticks”: Not that Big

CMS reports that the majority of physicians who will be penalized this year for not having met MU requirements will lose less than $1,000 of their Medicare reimbursement; 34% of the penalties will be $250 or less, while 31% will exceed $2,000.

The adjustments will impact approximately 257,000 eligible providers. While no one likes losing money, the CMS penalty “stick” is pretty small compared to the overall cost of implementing an EHR.

Mayo Provides Dr. Google with 2nd Opinion

Google consults with the Mayo Clinic to expand its healthcare information for 400 medical conditions.

Given that 20% of all Google searches are related to health conditions, the change will no doubt shake up what Americans find when searching for medical information. The update includes the addition of illustrations for each condition, plus a full list of search results from sites such as WebMD and Wikipedia.

In Support of an Open EHR for the DoD

The Center for New American Security, a defense think tank, warns that the Department of Defense’s current EHR procurement process may result in the implementation of an EHR system “that may not be able to stay current with – or even lead- the state-of-the-art, or work well with parallel systems” and that choosing a single commercial, closed, and proprietary system will lead to “vendor lock and health data isolation.”

Only one of the four teams vying for the DoD contract includes an open source option (Medsphere with PwC, General Dynamics, DSS, and Google). Hard to know how much weight the report will carry with decision makers but Team Medshere has to like theendorsement.

ICD-10 Appears on Target for Oct. 1

A study published in the Journal of American Health Information Management Association finds that the cost of switching to ICD-10 is significantly less than previously estimated. Conversion costs averaged $3,430 versus earlier estimates of $28,000. Unlike previous studies, the current analysis does not include EHR-related expenses. The authors also say that the coding industry’s greater mastery of ICD-10 and the availability of free training resources have contributed to the lower cost.

Meanwhile the GAO reports that CMS appears to be on track for the transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10 and industry stakeholders tell federal lawmakers to issue no more delays. While the new code set still has its critics, the current October 1 deadline could very well hold this time. 

Deloitte Introduces New Approach to EHR Implementation

Deloitte announces Evergreen, an approach to EHR implementation and maintenance that may help health systems cut as much as 30% on EHR operating costs. Evergreen is based on Deloitte’s work with Catholic Health Initiatives’ Epic implementation and is designed to improve analytics and reporting, as well as help the transition to value-based payment models.

Deloitte seems to be capitalizing on the inability of EHR vendors to customize their implementations for each health system and hospital. Whether their approach will be truly transformational remains to be seen.

Wheeling and Dealing

  • International Hospital Management Corporation selects Allscripts Sunrise Acute Care as its core EHR for its Hospital CIMA San Jose in Costa Rica.
  • Missouri’s Saint Francis Medical Center will begin its $43 million, 16-month implementation of Epic in March.
  • North Carolina’s WakeMed Health & Hospitals announces that all its services were live on Epic as of February 1. The total project cost was approximately $100 million.

Show Me the Money

  • Global consulting firm The Advisory Board acquires health IT consulting firm Clinovations.
  • ePatientFinder, developers of a platform that links physicians and patients clinical trial opportunities, raises $2.5 million through Parsons & Whittemore.
  • Cerner announces Q4 results: revenues up 16.4% from a year ago, beating estimates; adjusted EPS $0.47 vs. $0.39, in-line with estimates.

New Blood

  • Sutter Health names former Seattle Children’s Hospital VP/CIO Wes Wright CTO.
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital promotes David Bates, MD from chief quality officer to chief innovation officer.


  • New York state lawmakers pass legislation authorizing a one year delay to a mandate that providers only use e-prescribing. Governor Andrew Cuomo is reviewing the legislation.
  • Stanford Health Care introduces its in-house developed MyHealth mobile app which connects with Epic’s EHR and Apple’s HealthKit for consumer health data monitoring.

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