HIT Newser: ACA upheld – Can We Talk Health IT Now?

AMGA requests funds and policies to support care for chronically ill

In a letter to members of the Senate Finance Committee Chronic Care Workgroup, the AMGA asks Congress to consider policies and financial and operational technologies that support care for the chronically ill. The AMGA stressed that clinical data from EHRs and details from administrative claims are valuable for analyzing trends on utilization and outcomes.

The AMGA supports the development and use of sophisticated predictive analytic software that have the potential to improve care coordination, cut hospital re-admissions, and reduce the overall cost of patient care. The organization is also encouraging the use of telehealth to care for the chronically ill, as well as financial incentives to encourage provider investment in care management tools.

And now back to us

On the heels of the Supreme Court ruling on the ACA, several health IT organizations express hope that Congress will renew its focus on interoperability, telehealth, Meaningful Use, and other HIT-related issues. Politico reports that Health IT Now Coalition executive Joel White is hoping for a “continued bipartisan focus on interoperability and telemedicine,” while HIMSS believes the decision will create more predictability in the healthcare sector, which may facilitate the advancement¬†of its IT agenda.

It’s great to be optimistic, but I’m sure no one will be shocked if lawmakers find alternative distractions.

Portal access doesn’t improve patient medical knowledge

Patients given access to their medical information through a patient portal didn’t have a greater understanding of their care and treatment, compared to patients without access to the app. Those findings come from a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

Researchers conclude that additional work needs to be done to “identify optimal methods to engage and inform patients during their hospitalization.” I wonder if researchers are taking into account that sick patients may not be very interested in reading through their medical records and/or may be in a drug-induced haze that impacts memory and retention. Maybe a better approach would be to encourage patients’ caretakers to access the records.

Industry stakeholders support proposed Cures legislation

A 31-organization coalition send the House Energy and Commerce Committee a letter voicing support for the interoperability language included in the 21st Century Cures Act. The coalition of providers, payers, patient advocates, consumers, employers, and vendors support changes to “address the known defects associated with interoperability.” They also support proposed provisions related to developing and adopting standards, and the enforcement of penalties for stakeholders engaged in “information blocking.”

Show Me the Money

The North Carolina Hospital Association partners with Truven Health for the development, management, and hosting of an analytically-enhanced data mart that will provide member hospitals access to state-wide reporting and analytic insights for disease monitoring and benchmarking.

HealthShare Exchange of Southeastern Pennsylvania selects Mirth to provide interoperability and messaging solutions for the secure electronic exchange of patient and claims data.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham Health System will implement athenaCoordinator Enterprise patient access services.

Florida’s PremierMD ACO selects eClinicalWorks CCMR population health platform to support its ACO objectives. EClinicalWorks EHR will also be the organization’s preferred solution.

Wheeling and Dealing

Telehealth company MDLIVE closes on a $50 million investment from Bedford Funding.

Cureatr, developer of a mobile care coordination solution for healthcare, raises $13 million in Series B funding led by Deerfield Investments.

Healthcare analytics firm Arcadia Healthcare Solutions acquires Sage Technologies, a provider of managed services and ACO implementations.

New Blood

McKesson appoints Kathy McElligott EVP/CIO/CTO, replacing the retiring Randy Spratt. Most recently McElligott served as CIO/VP of IT strategy and information security for Emerson.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center names Matthew Trunnell VP/CIO. Trunnell is the former CIO of Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.

Former Allscripts VP Gavin Yoder joins Apervita as VP of strategic partnerships.


HIT vendors Caremerge and T-System join the CommonWell Health Alliance, as well as state HIEs Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services and Texas Health Services Authority.

Healtheway rebrands itself as The Sequoia Project. The organization current supports the eHealth Exchange HIE and the interoperabilty collaborative Carequality.