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Tag: HITECH

Diffusion of EHR Innovation

No matter what your opinion of Electronic Health Records (EHR) is, you would probably agree that the concept of computerizing medical records represents an innovation of sorts. The spread of innovation, or its diffusion, has been researched and modeled by Rogers[1] as a bell shaped advancement through populations of Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority and Laggards (the blue curve in the figure below). At some point during this spread of an innovative solution a Critical Mass of adopters, or Tipping Point, is reached and the innovation is assured widespread diffusion (Gladwell[2]).  Adoption is usually described by an S-shaped curve of adopters vs. time, and the rate of adoption is the slope of the S-shaped curve at any given time (the red curve in the figure).

The Tipping Point occurs right after the rate of adoption assumes its largest value which will be maintained throughout most of the adoption process. It is worth noting that the diffusion of innovation model is not predictive. Many innovations linger and die within the Innovator circle. Another important aspect of the model is that the time variable is not constrained. Depending on the rate of adoption, it may take weeks, months or many years for an Innovation to spread throughout a given population. There is no question that EHR adoption is slowly moving up on the ascending side of a classic diffusion model bell curve, but is it moving fast enough? Is the tipping point visible? Are we there yet?

DiffusionsContinue reading…

Webinar–Intro to Governance from Nat’l eHealth Collaborative

The first of a two event series on networNational eHealth Collaborativek governance, this is a key opportunity to explore the various  considerations that go into the development of a comprehensive and sustainable governance structure for nationwide health information exchange.

Designed to provide a foundational understanding of the concepts that will be critical to an upcoming rulemaking regarding the governance of the nationwide health information network as called for in the HITECH Act, presentations and discussion will focus on network governance generally, examining some of the wide range of activities that make up “governance,” including regulations, public-private partnerships, advisory bodies, delegations of authority to stakeholder groups and others, forbearance, etc.

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HIT Trends Summary for August 2010

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This is a summary of the HIT Trends Report for August 2010.

You can get the current issue or subscribe here

Large insurers make HIT commitments.  This month’s trends are dominated by national health plans revealing more about their HIT strategies.  Dr. Blumenthal called HIT a “team sport,” when asking for private industry support for meaningful use.  National insurers responded.  Humana announced that it will collaborate with athenahealth in 100 physician practices and pay for 85% of the costs of its EHR.  It will also pay a 20% bonus for hitting outcomes targets.  Ingenix, part of UnitedHealthcare Group, reported it is buying Axolotl, a leader in health information exchange.  Aetna announced a partnership between its ActiveHealth care management solution and IBM who will provide clinical decision support to providers in large groups using cloud computing.  And WellPoint told the WSJ that it is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to finance the HIT infrastructure for rural providers.  In response to a consumer advocate raising questions about an inherent conflict when payers support provider HIT efforts, health plans responded by insisting their focus is on improving patient outcomes which will lower costs.  Payer investments in provider HIT will be supported by its inclusion as a medical expense when insurers calculate medical loss ratios.  The National Association of Insurance Commissioners approved its inclusion in new MLR blanks.

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Medicaid EHR Incentives – A Learning Experience

By now almost everybody that has any remote interest in Health Care is aware of the much publicized incentives made available to health care providers for the adoption and meaningful use of certified EHR technology. The most quoted number is $44,000 to be paid by CMS to Medicare physicians. Practically every EHR vendor website is adorned with a Flash banner “educating” doctors on this cash windfall, and practically every HIT detractor is warning that the incentives are just a pittance compared to the real costs of ownership of a certified EHR. Very rarely does anybody go into the intricacies of the available incentives for Medicaid providers, which are almost 50% higher than Medicare and involve clinicians providing care to our most vulnerable citizens. However, there is much to learn from the structure of the Medicaid incentives program.

The HITECH statute sets forth a “net” average allowable cost for purchasing and implementing an EHR at $25,000 for the first year and $10,000 for subsequent years. Of this “net” allowable cost, the Secretary of HHS is authorized to pay Medicaid Eligible Providers up to 85% in stimulus incentives for a total of 6 years. It appears that the Government is about to pay you 85% of your EHR costs for the next 6 years, which is a pretty good deal. Looks, however, can be deceiving. As any early adopter of EHR knows, the total cost of ownership for an EHR over 6 years is well over the “net” allowable of $75,000 set forth in the HITECH Act, and Congress knew that too. This is why the statute instructs the Secretary of HHS to determine the actual average allowable costs of EHR:Continue reading…

Interview: Blumenthal talks meaningful use

Absolutely hot off the recorder, here’s my interview with David Blumenthal, the Obama administration’s National Coordinator for Health IT.

David and I discuss patient communication, why the percentages of certain criteria were reduced, and how to get the two Reginas on Oprah. Well, he didn’t have many ideas about that! …

David Blumenthal on Meaningful Use, 13 July 2010

If HIT Plan A Doesn’t Work, What’s Plan B?

By VINCE KURAITIS, JD, & DAVID KIBBE, MD

Pop quiz: Among early-stage companies that are successful, what percentage are successful with the initial business model with which they started (Plan A) vs. a secondary business model (Plan B)?

Harvard Business School Professor Clay Christensen studied this issue.  He found that among successful companies, only 7% succeeded with their initial business model, while 93% evolved into a different business model.

So let’s take this finding and reexamine our human nature. In light of these statistics, what makes more sense:

  • Defending Plan A to your dying breath?
  • Assuming Plan A is probably flawed, and anticipating the need for Plan B without getting defensive?

We question many of the assumptions underlying HITECH Plan A. We also want to talk about the need and content for Plan B in a constructive way.Continue reading…

Deobfuscating HITECH

Software developers sometimes use a technique called obfuscation to protect their intellectual property.

They use tools to add, remove and displace the original flow of the code until no human can understand what it does or how it does anything. Judging by the ample confusion expressed by large numbers of physicians, it almost looks like a giant obfuscator has been applied to the HITECH act leaving the medical community to wonder what to do, why do it and how to proceed.

The prevailing wisdom is that, for some misguided reason, the Government is paying for EHRs, but there are so many strings attached that it is very unlikely anybody will ever see a dime of the much advertised $44,000.

First we should figure out what these EHRs can do, or more accurately, will one day be able to do.

  1. Store all your paper records electronically in a computer and make them accessible to many other providers of care, including patients. EHRs, if allowed, can also make all your records available to insurers, Government and any other agencies or corporations who manage to obtain access. There will of course be laws and regulations, consents and all sorts of policies in place to prevent or punish unauthorized access. Electronic data is much more liquid than paper based data, leading to better collaboration, better visibility and like all liquids, has better chances of leakage.Continue reading…

EMR Ratings: How Relevant Is CCHIT Certification In the HITECH Era?

For nearly four years, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology (CCHIT) has been the lone entity recognized by the federal government to certify electronic health record systems. Since being named a recognized certifying body by Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2006, CCHIT has awarded certifications to nearly 200 EHR software products based on CCHIT’s standards of functionality, interoperability, usability and security.

However, CCHIT’s role in the EHR market is changing. The Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT (ONC) and the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced in early March 2010 that they would name more than one organization to certify EHR software, countering previous claims that CCHIT would become the sole certifying body. The certification requirements are in accordance with 2009’s Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

As this news swirled around, one doctor called Software Advice and asked: “Is CCHIT dead?

Dead? No. But it appears that the organization’s influence is waning.

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Is HITECH Working? #7: Where’s Plan B? Congress and ONC need to address major flaws in HITECH

By VINCE KURAITIS JD, MBA and DAVID C. KIBBE MD, MBAVince Kuraitis

Pop quiz: Among early-stage companies that are successful, what percentage are successful with the initial business model with which they started (Plan A) vs. a secondary business model (Plan B)?

Harvard Business School Professor Clay Christensen studied this issue.  He found that among successful companies, only 7% succeeded with their initial business model, while 93% evolved into a different business model.

So let’s take this finding and reexamine our human nature. In light of these statistics, what makes more sense:

  • Defending Plan A to your dying breath?
  • Assuming Plan A is probably flawed, and anticipating the need for Plan B without getting defensive?

We question many of the assumptions underlying HITECH Plan A. We also want to talk about the need and content for Plan B in a constructive way.

In this essay we’ll discuss:

1) The Need for HITECH Plan B

2) Questioning Assumptions — Issues to Reconsider in Plan B

a) Rewarding Incremental Progress
b) Addressing Root Causes for Non-adoption of EHR Technology
c) Questioning Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) as Building Blocks for the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN)
d) Catalyzing Movement Toward Modular EHR Technology
e) Focusing Incentives on High Leverage Physicians
f) Recalibrating Expectations for EHR Technology Adoption
g) Getting Bang-for-the-Buck in Achieving Meaningful Use Objectives
h) Comprehensively Revamping Privacy/Security Laws vs. Tweaking HIPAA
i) Maximizing Sync Between HITECH and PPACA
j) Leveraging Potential for Patient-Driven Disruptive Innovation
k) Promoting EHR Adoption Beyond Hospitals and Physicians, e.g., long-term care, home health, behavioral health, etc.
l) Dumping CertificationContinue reading…

Is HITECH Working? #6: HITECH and Health Reform Objectives are Synergistic

We’ll keep this post fairly short and try to avoid many of the more divisive aspects of this topic. The need for healthcare payment reform is well understood on both sides of the aisle:

Realizing the full potential of health IT depends in no small measure on changing the health care system’s overall payment incentives so that providers benefit from improving the quality and efficiency of the services they provide. Only then will they be motivated to take full advantage of the power of electronic health records. Dr. David Blumenthal,  New England Journal of Medicine, April 9, 2009

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