s Weekly Update to July 27 2011 | I2P: Information to Pharmacists - Archive
Publication Date 29/07/2011         Volume. 3 No. 7   
Information to Pharmacists


From the desk of the editor

Welcome to the August 2011 edition of i2P- Information to Pharmacists.
Direct distribution by pharmaceutical manufacturers is back in the news once more.
This disruptive attack on an efficient community pharmacy business model must be checked before it gets too far out of hand.
Neil Retallick discusses some of the issues as does Mark Coleman in the Pharmedia section of i2P.
Read and see what you can do to help.

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Recent Comments

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News Flash

Newsflash Updates for August 2011

Newsflash Updates

Regular weekly updates that supplement the regular monthly homepage edition of i2P.
Access and click on the title links that are illustrated.

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Pipeline for August 2011

Pipeline Extras

A range of global and local news snippets and links that may be of interest to readers.
Pipeline Extra simply broadens the range of topics that can be concentrated in one delivery of i2P to your desktop.

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Feature Contribution

Pfizer Direct - the Implications as other Manufacturers look at this channel

Neil Retallick

Pfizer is working hard to improve its direct supply model, but no matter how efficient it becomes, it will still wreak havoc in community pharmacies.
It is almost a case of the more effective Pfizer’s logistics become, the more damage their direct supply model will inflict on community pharmacies.
The issue here has never been whether or not Pfizer can supply the right drugs at the right time to the right place.
If they lack the will to make this happen, there is a multitude of logistics experts that can help them achieve efficient supply.
Recent relaxation of order cut-off times is an indicator that Pfizer wants their model to be accepted by pharmacists and is willing to make concessions to meet their needs.

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Pharmacists - where are you when we need you?

Loretta Marron OAM BSc

New parents are congregating  at alternative practitioner clinics for after-hours 'information' seminars, eager to learn anything they can do to improve their families health and wellbeing.  Seniors and major illness patients are attending meetings to learn how to better manage their illnesses.   But what advice are they being given and why is their local pharmacist not there to support them?
People want to feel they are in control of their health.  When they are told about a lecture on lifestyle and health education, they will turn up in droves to listen to what their friendly neighbourhood natural therapist has to say.

Comments: 2

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A conflict between selling complementary medicines and providing evidence based clinical medical reviews?

Dr Linda Bryant (PGDipPharm, MPharm, DPharm(Auck), FACPP, FNZCP, FPSNZ, MCAPA)

First came the randomised controlled trial1,which linked calcium supplementation with vascular events, then there was a meta-analysis linking calcium with cardiovascular events2 and then a further confirmatory meta-analysis of calcium plus Vitamin D and using individual patient data.3
The conclusions were reasonably secure that calcium supplements are likely to increase the risk of a cardiovascular event. It is now advised that people obtain their calcium intake by dietary means – which is feasible even for those who do not consume a lot of dairy products. General practitioners have now stopped prescribing calcium, leaving me confused as to what arguments are being used by the community pharmacists who continue to sell the calcium supplements.

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Post- discharge Home Medicines Reviews

Kay Dunkley - BPharm, Grad Dip Hosp Pharm, Grad Dip Health Admin, MPS, MSHPA

Through the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement hospital initiated HMRs will now be available for high-risk patients recently discharged from hospital. This is an important step in addressing the fact that patients recently discharged from hospital are at risk of medication misadventure. The question I would like to raise is who is best placed to undertake these HMRs. The traditional model of HMR referral has been through a General Practitioner (GP) to the consumer’s community pharmacy. Under this model the HMR may be undertaken by an accredited pharmacist directly involved with or employed by the community pharmacy or be outsourced to an independent accredited pharmacist. Under the 5th Community Pharmacy Agreement this model has now been modified to enable direct referral from a GP to an accredited pharmacist and also direct referral from a hospital based medical practitioner for a newly discharged patient. The traditional model will continue in tandem with this new model.

Comments: 2

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Make sure your perspective is perceptive

Harvey Mackay

We've reached a point in our country's history where authority and power seem to be manifested by the need to shout down the other person.  Discussion and compromise are words freely bandied about, but they've largely lost their meaning. 
What is really lost is perspective.
Just as there are two (or more) sides to every story, there are plenty of different ideas on how to get things done.  No one person has a corner on that market.

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Fingers crossed as FDA considers drug bar code packaging rule

Mark Neuenschwander

I’ve been thinking about baseball, movies, ambiguous bar codes, and the FDA.
On June 26, 1974, New York Yankee All-Star Derek Jeter was born, two-time Academy Award winner Elizabeth Taylor divorced (for the fifth time), and Sharon Buchanan, a young grocery clerk in Troy, Ohio, was the first ever to ring up a retail purchase by scanning a bar code. On the same day in 2011, I drove from Arlington, Virginia, to Silver Spring, Maryland, to meet with people at the FDA to talk about the future of bar-code labeling on drug packaging.

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More Shocks and Economic Pain

Barry Urquhart

There are more shocks and economic pain on the near-term horizon for taxpayers, small business owners and corporations.
This is a key finding of an extensive and intensive strategic analysis undertaken by Barry Urquhart, Managing Director of Marketing Focus, who will deliver a keynote address on the analysis at the forthcoming annual national conference for the Australian Mining and Exploration Companies Association.
Among the significant points which have been identified are: -

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Marketing Focus: Here's looking at you, kid!

Barry Urquhart


"Wealth....Innovation. Creativity. Originality. Dynamism. Growth. Capital. Technology."

Silicon Valley is both a name and locality known throughout the world and is synonymous with each of the above listed attributes. It means and is perceived to be many things to many people.
Since the 1960's Silicon Valley has been the birthplace of many scenario changes, iconic products, services, concepts and business entities. In itself it is a magnet which attracts some of the world's brightest, most enterprising, free thinking and driven entrepreneurs.
The Federal and State governments, in Washington DC and California, have welcomed, encouraged and supported investment in countless large and small, established and start-up businesses to enable them to blossom and to create wealth, employment, education and opportunities.
Financial injections and tax relief/incentives have been provided in abundance.
Everyone, it seems, is a winner.

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No success without access

Harvey Mackay

Over the years I've asked a lot of people what makes a great salesperson, and the answers are fairly predictable:  passion; persistence; personality/likeability; planning; trustworthiness; strong work ethic; drive/initiative; quick learner; goal-oriented; good communications skills; sense of humor; humility; good timing; strong at building relationships; and follow-up (or as I say, the sale begins when the customer says yes).
My own answer is always the same:  hungry fighter.  In many ways, that is the embodiment of all of the above traits.

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E-Health - High cost for very little return

Peter Sayers

Politicians in the UK are starting to wake up to the fact that their Department of Health is unable to deliver its electronic care records system, after investing 2.7 billion pounds sterling in the project without being able to demonstrate a single benefit of the system.
The project has suffered from the same problems that have beset a similar Australian project being developed by the National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA).
It is now recognised that the pitfalls and waste might have been avoided in the UK had they consulted a range of health professionals before starting the project.

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Question homeopathy’s remedies but not its approach

Staff Writer

It seems the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is likely to follow the lead of the UK and denounce homeopathy as an ineffective and unethical therapy that shouldn’t attract scarce government research funds.
This is within the remit of the NHMRC’s role to provide health advice to clinicians and the Australian public. But the NHMRC also funds the majority of health and medical research in Australia.
And this dual role means the NHMRC – or those looking to it for guidance – may look unfavourably at funding any research involving homoeopathy.
Homeophathy has its shortcomings but researchers still have a lot to learn from studying this practice. 

Written By Jon Wardle:NHMRC Research Scholar, School of Population Health at University of Queensland

Comments: 2

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Saving Lives at Birth

Staff Writer

United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has acknowledged Monash University researchers for a life-saving new drug concept at the Saving Lives at Birth global challenge forum held yesterday in Washington DC.
Following the forum, at which Monash University researcher Dr Michelle McIntosh spoke, the research team received funding to engineer a drug that could save the lives of mothers of newborn children in developing countries.

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UQ Law helps professionals deal with carbon tax challenge

Staff Writer

The University of Queensland is preparing for an increased uptake in post-graduate legal courses as lawyers, consultants and accountants prepare to implement the Government's carbon tax scheme, due to take effect in July 2012.
Head of the TC Beirne School of Law Professor Ross Grantham said he expected a significant demand for specialist skills in areas such as consumer law, contracts, taxation, climate change and policy, and mining and offshore resources law.

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Cholesterol drug may help diabetes sugar levels

Staff Writer

A medicine designed to improve levels of 'good' cholesterol may also help control blood sugar in people with diabetes who are taking cholesterol-lowering drugs, according to a recently published study in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
The study, led by the University of Sydney's Professor Philip Barter, made the finding while analysing data from a clinical trial on the drug torcetrapib. Torcetrapib is a cholesterol ester transfer protein (CETP) inhibitor, a type of drug that increases levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs, or 'good' cholesterol).

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Microsoft grant boosts stroke, cardio disease detection devices

Staff Writer

A $100,000 Microsoft fellowship awarded to a lecturer leading the University of Sydney in the emerging field of bioelectronics will accelerate the development of electrical devices used to diagnose and monitor stroke and cardiovascular disease.

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Indigenous Science Education Program wins national award

Staff Writer

Macquarie University's innovative Indigenous Science Education Program has been recognised with an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Award for Programs that Enhance Learning.
The Indigenous Science Education Program (ISEP) works with Casino, Lismore and Maclean High Schools in northern NSW and Chifley College in Western Sydney and has its origins in requests for help from Aboriginal Elders in addressing the poor completion rate of secondary education by their Indigenous youth.

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Karratha GP Super Clinic to Provide Better Health Services

Staff Writer

Residents of the West Pilbara will soon have better access to GPs and allied health professionals following the signing of a $7 million agreement with the Pilbara Health Network for a GP Super Clinic to operate in Karratha.
Acting Minister for Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, today welcomed the signing of the $7 million agreement as a welcome boost to health care in West Pilbara.
“This GP Super Clinic will deliver better access to health services for locals in a single, convenient location,” Mr Butler said.

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Stopping snoring cuts heart attack risk, researchers find

Staff Writer

Sleep apnoea patients who are successfully treated have lower blood fat levels and a reduced risk of heart attack than people who are left untreated, University of Sydney researchers have found.
Sleep apnoea, a condition in which people stop breathing momentarily while sleeping, affects up to 20 percent of the population. The researchers found treatment with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device reduced post-meal blood fat (triglyceride) levels.

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New Advisory Council to Boost Disease Prevention Efforts

Staff Writer

Moves to prevent the lifestyle risks of chronic disease in Australia have been boosted with the creation of an expert Advisory Council for the Australian National Preventive Health Agency.
Acting Minister for Health and Ageing Mark Butler today welcomed the appointment of 10 expert members to a new advisory council for the Agency in another significant step forward for national health reform.

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Researchers unveil body clock battle for Blind New Zealanders

Staff Writer

Nearly 3000 blind and partially-sighted New Zealanders could be suffering from undiagnosed sleep timing disorders according to a recent study from The University of Auckland.
The study, which was undertaken in conjunction with the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB), was recently published in the journal PLosOne. It looked at self-reported sleep habits, sleep disruptions and medication use in people completely blind in one or both eyes; partially-sighted and fully-sighted.

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Stone Age Diet May Stop Ageing

Staff Writer

While some people may feel anxious about their body's condition as they age, US academician Professor Michael Rose has no qualms about it; claiming once individuals reach their 90s their bodies stop ageing.
According to Professor Rose, who is an expert in evolutionary biology, “if you are lucky enough to live that long, you stop ageing”.
To reach this point, he suggests adopting a 'stone age' diet when you hit 30 years of age.

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Forum told of seaweed’s bioproduct potential

Staff Writer

Commercial viability of high-value macroalgal (seaweed) bioproducts for human health is a step closer with a research collaboration between Flinders University biotechnologists and Australian Kelp Products.
Under the agreement, Flinders researchers will trial new processes developed at the University to create products for the food, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical industries.
These include marine sugars refined from seaweed that can have applications in anti-viral pharmaceuticals, functional cosmetics, and environmentally friendly agricultural pesticides and fertiliser.

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Flood Relief Funds Distributed – Pharmacists Supporting Pharmacists

Staff Writer

On behalf of the pharmacy profession of Australia, the Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) is pleased to announce that financial support for pharmacists affected by the floods, via the funds raised by the joint Pharmacists’ Support Service Inc and Pharmaceutical Society of Australia flood appeal, has now been distributed.  A total of 18 pharmacists were provided with financial assistance which was generously donated by their pharmacy colleagues from around Australia.

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Direct Distribution - the story continues to unfold

Neil Johnston

Editor’s Note: It was expected that other manufacturers would consider a direct distribution model after Pfizer had initiated a system that when developed, would appear to have most of the “bugs” knocked out of it.
The “who” and the “when” would then be the only unanswered questions.
i2P has covered a lot of the earlier discussion regarding this industry-changing decision, and in light of recent commentary, i2P has asked Mark Coleman to give us an update.
His comments appear below the media item in brown text published recently in Pharmacy News.

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Weekly Update to July 27 2011

Dr David More

articles by this author...

From a Medical IT Perspective: I am vitally interested in making a difference to the quality and safety of Health Care in Australia through the use of information technology. There is no choice.. it has to be made to work! That is why I keep typing. Disclaimer - Please note all the commentary are personal views based on the best evidence available to me - If I have it wrong let me know!

Visit my blog http://aushealthit.blogspot.com/

This blog has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on how things are progressing in e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.

Weekly Overseas Health IT Links - 31 July, 2011.

Here are a few I have come across this week.

Note: Each link is followed by a title and a paragraph or two. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or subscription payment.

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Mayo Clinic Builds Next-Gen Health Information Exchange

Open-source natural language processing software will provide additional context so that clinicians and researchers can better use patient data from a variety of sources.

By Ken Terry, InformationWeek

July 20, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/interoperability/231002212

Using a Beacon grant provided by the Office of the National Coordinator of Health IT, the Mayo Clinic is building what may be the next generation of health information exchanges (HIE) with a group of healthcare providers in southeast Minnesota. In this real-world demonstration, Mayo will apply the computer tools it is developing through a federal SHARP grant to create new methods of mining electronic health record (EHR) data.

"We're building a patient data repository for southeast Minnesota that will execute on a lot of the promise and principles we're articulating in our SHARP grant," said Christopher Chute, MD, a Mayo Clinic epidemiologist and the principal investigator on Mayo's SHARP grant.

Mayo is using the government's CONNECT software to establish the HIE. The world-famous group practice also is working with the pioneering Indiana Health Information Exchange to build a data repository like the one in Indianapolis. "We'll use that to do population health management, aggregate outcomes analysis, and comparative effectiveness research pooled across healthcare encounters by different providers with the same patients," said Chute.


When Health IT Meets Bugs Bunny

HHS seeks vendor to produce cartoons to educate the public about the benefits of EHRs and other types of IT in healthcare.

By Neil Versel, InformationWeek

July 21, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/patient/231002359

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is looking to educate the public about health IT issues as simply as possible. That simple avenue might just be a cartoon.

HHS, via the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), is looking for a contractor to produce one or two video animations no longer than 10 minutes in length to help educate the public about the value of health IT and how technologies such as electronic health records will change how the public interacts with healthcare organizations. At least one video must be in "plain language," as defined by federal contracting standards.



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Helping Patients Test Treatments for Chronic Illness

Customizable tools will let patients, and their doctors, track various health metrics.

By Emily Singer

A new set of tools could help patients with chronic illnesses track their condition and monitor how they respond to different treatments.

The tools are designed to let physicians run experiments tailored to an individual patient's needs, a faster and more quantitative way than infrequent office visits to determine a treatment's benefits or side effects.

"The idea is to try to make interactions between patients and doctors more continuous, and to provide patients with more information so they can participate more actively in their care," says Peter Margolis, a physician at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. The project is part of the Collaborative Chronic Care Network (C3N), whose goal is to collect real-time data and use it to change how chronic illnesses are managed.



Doctors skittish about health technology despite promise of big federal bucks

Cleveland area physicians worried about big hassles, big risks and a big commitment of time they don't have

By Susan Jaffe

6:00 am, July 7, 2011

CLEVELAND — In Dr. Sandra Berglund’s well-stocked waiting room, there’s a box of children’s toys and picture books and, on either side of a magazine rack, framed photographs of sacred places: the stadiums of the Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Indians. And in clear view behind the receptionist’s desk is something the Obama Administration will actually pay her to clear out: folders of paper medical records stuffed into shelves from the floor almost to the ceiling.

The administration is offering what sounds like a pretty good deal. If Berglund, a family medicine doctor in her own practice, transfers the information in those folders to an electronic health record system run on a computer, she could earn a $44,000 bonus over the next five years tacked on to the payments she gets for treating patients in Medicare. Or, if she cares for a certain number of low-income Medicaid patients, she could earn as much as an extra $63,750 over six years.

The doctors still have to buy the system — which can cost roughly $20,000 per physician initially — but the bonus payments are designed to get them interested. The payments are part of a $27 billion incentive program included in the 2009 economic stimulus law. The program also offers health care providers free technical support from new regional extension centers, a certification process to highlight suitable electronic systems, workforce training and a national health information exchange network, among other benefits.



AAFP Portal Eases Patient Satisfaction Reporting

Joseph Goedert

HDM Breaking News, July 21, 2011

The American Academy of Family Physicians has launched an online patient survey portal that its members can buy for $150 a year to gather, organize and report satisfaction information from patients.



EMR Adoption to Drive e-Health Market Growth in US

July 22, 2011

According to our latest research, “US e-health Market Analysis”, the US represent world’s largest and one of the fastest growing e-Health markets. Past few years have been phenomenal for the industry and it remained almost immune to the economic slowdown. A number of segments, EMR in particular has witnessed excellent market expansion during the last 4-5 years and helped overall industry to post double digit CAGR growth. The research further revealed that e-Health market will follow the same growth trajectory by 2015 and will emerge as one of the most lucrative sector in the US for investment and business execution.

The study identified that EMR is currently the most dominant market segment. The segment growth has largely been benefitted by Government policies and regulations which encouraged public healthcare professionals and private practitioners to adopt and use electronic medical records product and services. It is anticipated that government incentives along with various private sector initiatives as discussed and analyzed in the report will drive the market growth to achieve new heights.


When Social Features Meet Personal Health Records

Employer consortium Dossia takes cues from social networking and games as it vies to boost usage of its personal health record site.

By Marianne Kolbasuk McGee, InformationWeek

July 20, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/EMR/231002035

Employer consortium Dossia is adding new functionality to its personal e-health record system to improve engagement with users and help them better manage and improve their health.

The new Dossia Health Manager is an "intelligent" health management system that further extends Dossia's original e-personal health record capabilities beyond being a platform for individuals to store and track their health information to one that enables users' health data to become "actionable," said Dossia CEO Mike Critelli, in an interview with InformationWeek Healthcare.



Express Scripts will buy rival Medco for $29.1 billion

By Jaimy Lee

Posted: July 21, 2011 - 7:45 am ET

Express Scripts said it will acquire Medco Health Solutions, a rival pharmacy benefits management company, for $29.1 billion in cash and stock.

St. Louis-based Express Scripts will form the Express Scripts Holding Co.; Express Scripts shareholders will own 59% of the new company while Medco shareholders will own about 41%, according to a news release. Medco, which is based in Franklin Lakes, N.J., has 20,000 employees and reported $66 billion in revenue in 2010.



EHRs too cumbersome for eye docs

July 21, 2011 — 8:07am ET | By Janice Simmons

An information technology committee organized by the American Academy of Ophthalmology this week released a list of special requirements to help electronic health record (EHR) systems be used more "intuitively and efficiently" by ophthalmology practices.

In a report now available online in the journal Ophthalmology and forthcoming in the Aug. 1 issue, AAO committee members note that many EHRs currently used by ophthalmologists are "large, comprehensive systems that originally were designed for other medical specialties or large enterprises," such as hospitals or health plans. As such, the systems pay little attention to the needs of ophthalmologists.



Your EMR privacy policy, first and foremost, should be practical

July 20, 2011 — 5:19pm ET | By Janice Simmons

It's not hard to find recent examples of privacy and security at odds with electronic medical records (EMRs). Just this week, for instance, a federal grand jury indicted a former employee of University of Maryland Medical Center with stealing patient identities. Wake Forest Baptist Health in North Carolina, meanwhile, notified 357 people (including employees and patients) that a former employee was hoarding their medical records at home.

Headlines such as these can be scary. What may be even more frightening, however, is that many providers or healthcare organizations unwittingly are violating the trust of their patients every day--without consciously trying.


FCC Criticized For Not Spending On Telemedicine

American Telemedicine Association urges action on measures to achieve the National Broadband Plan's goals.

By Nicole Lewis, InformationWeek

July 19, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/policy/231002124

The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) has fired off a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) urging that more money be spent on expanding telecommunications services, which will boost telemedicine projects at rural healthcare facilities.

The letter, which was sent last week to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, noted that 16 months had passed since the FCC adopted the National Broadband Plan, which included an entire chapter on the positive effects that broadband expansion can have on healthcare delivery. The letter also stated that eight months ago the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report sharply criticizing the Commission's management of the Rural Health Care Program.



E-prescribing: safer than paper?

Alex Jennings, deputy chief pharmacist at University Hospital, Aintree, reflects on the pros and cons of an e-prescribing roll out; and outlines some of the questions other trusts should be asking.

18 July 2011

We have just completed the roll-out of an electronic prescribing and medicines administration system (EPMA) at an 800 bed teaching hospital in the North West, going from zero to full inpatient coverage in 18 months.

We certainly don’t consider ourselves “know it alls’ in this field, but we are hoping that we can raise awareness of some of the issues that we have come across.

We hope that after reading this article, you will have a greater understanding of some of the limitations and potential misconceptions/risks of EPMA - to balance against the more bullish articles that have recently been published.

We also hope that you will be armed with the type of questions that need to be asked of electronic prescribing suppliers, so that informed decisions can be made.



Why shuttered RHIO CareSpark's chairman is not giving up

July 19, 2011 | Patty Enrado, Contributing Editor

In June 2011, CareSpark's board of directors voted unanimously to terminate the nonprofit regional health information organization (RHIO), which serves 17 counties in eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia.

"It was very devastating," said Jerry Miller, MD, founder of Holston Medical Group and board chairman of CareSpark, of the decision, which was announced last week. The RHIO was burdened with legacy debt and ultimately, he said, "We did not have a sustainable plan."



Beth Israel data breach may affect over 2,000

Virus sent records to unknown location

July 19, 2011|By Hiawatha Bray, Globe Staff

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is notifying more than 2,000 patients that some of their personal information may have been stolen from a hospital computer.

The hospital said yesterday that an unnamed computer service vendor had failed to restore proper security settings on a computer after performing maintenance on it. The machine was later found to be infected with a virus, which transmitted data files to an unknown location.



FDA lays out regulation of certain mobile medical apps

July 19, 2011 | Mary Mosquera

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed regulation of some medical applications that run on smartphones and other mobile computing devices that could affect the operations of other medical devices already under its governance.

The agency’s draft guidance released July 19 outlines its “current thinking” and focuses on a small subset of mobile medical apps because they can influence the performance or functionality, and potentially the safety, of currently regulated medical devices.

The mobile medical apps that FDA has in mind are those used as accessory to a medical device already regulated by the agency, such as one that enables a provider to make a diagnosis by viewing a medical image from a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) on a smartphone or other mobile device.



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Include Mental Health, Addiction Providers in Meaningful Use Incentives

by Chuck Ingoglia

When Congress passed legislation in 2009 creating new Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments to encourage health care providers to use electronic health records, much of the health care community applauded. The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, was long overdue recognition of the importance of health IT in improving care for patients, while also reducing health care spending.

But amid much fanfare for the HITECH Act, a notable group of providers was left with little to cheer about. The nation's mental health and addiction treatment providers were excluded from the incentive payments. So while some providers continue to be offered financial incentives to use health IT to increase health care quality, reduce medical errors and better coordinate care, providers at psychiatric hospitals, mental health and addiction treatment facilities, and community mental health centers are being told to fend for themselves.



Report: Healthy growth for hospital info systems; U.S. leads way

Written by Editorial Staff

July 18, 2011

The worldwide hospital information system (HIS) market reached a value of $7.4 billion in 2010, and is expected to achieve a value of $14.7 billion by 2017, according to companiesandmarkets.com.

The London-based market researcher predicted worldwide growth of 10 percent annually. “Advancements in technology, combined with increased investment in public and private healthcare sectors, are driving the hospital information systems market,” the company stated.


New MGMA Chief Brings Patient Safety, EHR Expertise

Medical Group Management Association recruits Wisconsin Medical Society's CEO and the founder of two data-exchange bodies as new leader.

By Neil Versel, InformationWeek

July 18, 2011

URL: http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/leadership/231001993

The Medical Group Management Association has selected a new chief with as strong a background in health IT as practically any other leader of a healthcare organization not specifically dedicated to IT promotion.

MGMA, an Englewood, Colo.-based organization comprised of group physician practice administrators and leaders, has named Dr. Susan L. Turney to succeed Dr. William F. Jessee as president and CEO. Jessee, himself a vocal advocate for IT adoption in healthcare, will retire after 12 years in charge. MGMA says its 22,500 members lead 13,600 healthcare organizations that provide more than 40% of the healthcare services delivered in the United States.



VA launches contest to expand Blue Button

July 15, 2011 | Mary Mosquera

The Veterans Affairs Department will launch a developers’ competition to expand the deployment and use of its Blue Button functionality that enables patients to download their health information to all veterans who receive care from providers outside of the VA.

Blue Button is a simple, convenient and secure method over the Internet for a patient to retrieve his or her information in plain text ASCII format.

The competition starts July 18, and VA will announce the winner Oct. 18, VA said. The first prize is $50,000.



5 Steps to Successful CPOE

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media , July 19, 2011

In the 1990s, big bang rollouts of electronic health systems were all the rage. But have you ever heard the phrase "only fools rush in?" Many organizations learned that while that approach got complete systems up and running, it didn't guarantee that clinicians would like them.

So the industry tried a more drawn-out approach, forming vast committees to get buy-in from every last stakeholder. In the end, though, that didn't guarantee adoption, either. In fact, it created new problems, such as alert fatigue.

Today, organizations are finding a balanced approach to launching systems such as computerized physician order entry that lets them get buy-in and get to go-live faster and more efficiently. I spoke to leaders at several organizations in various stages of implementing CPOE for an article in this month's issue of HealthLeaders magazine.



No national IT system for appraisal

19 July 2011 Fiona Barr

The Department of Health had said there will be no national IT system for revalidation when it begins next year. Instead, employers and doctors will be able to choose IT systems locally.

The Department of Health’s Revalidation Support Team has published an evaluation of its Pathfinder Pilots for revalidation, which looked at the experiences of more than 3,000 doctors in the ten pilot areas.

The evaluation found that 96% of organisations expected revalidation to lead to improved quality of care.



By Joseph Conn

Only connect—meshing home devices and electronic health records

I won't go into all 11 of the recommendations in a report this week from the National Research Council on improving the connections between electronic health-records systems and home health-care monitoring devices, and the usability of those devices by nonclinicians.

You can read them all in a free copy here.

But two key recommendations in the 203-page report, “Health Care Comes Home: The Human Factors,” were directed at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and I'll deal with those two in this post.



HIE Challenge: ‘Breadth of subjects’

Gary Baldwin

Health Data Management Blogs, July 15, 2011

As I mentioned in my initial report covering the MetroChicago HIE, some three-fourths of Chicago-area hospitals have signed on with one of the nation’s most ambitious data exchange projects. To learn more about what has propelled the HIE, I caught up recently with Terri Jacobsen, the project’s director. She’s part of the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council, a long-standing Chicago-based membership organization that is spearheading the data exchange. Some 69 area hospitals have joined, signing letters of intent to participate as dues-paying members. Unlike some data exchanges, which had to build from scratch not-for-profit organizations and boards to operate, the council has enjoyed relationships with Chicago-area providers for years. “Our pre-existing relationships have helped facilitate the effort so far,” Jacobsen says. (click here for a video interview MCHC conducted with Terri).



WebMD Downgrades Expectations, Investors Bail

Joseph Goedert

HDM Breaking News, July 18, 2011

The stock price of online health information content vendor WebMD Health Corp. fell 30 percent on July 18 after the company downgraded its financial performance for the rest of 2011.

The stock fell in the morning after the announcement and did not recover much after the company issued a follow-up statement from Chairman Martin Wygod saying he has the "utmost confidence in WebMD's growth prospects and the future value of the company." However, speculators came in during early after-hours trading and boosted the stock by 13 percent.



Microsoft HealthVault Ready to Accept Google Health Accounts, Apps

Joseph Goedert

HDM Breaking News, July 18, 2011

Microsoft Corp. has launched a Web page where consumers using personal health records from Google Health can have their personal health information transferred to a Microsoft HealthVault account.

Google Inc. also will support the migration to HealthVault of applications that third-party developers have created for Google Health. Additional information is available here.



July 18, 2011 10:49 AM PDT

Microsoft offers transfer tool to Google Health users

by Jay Greene

For the seeming handful of people who signed up to use the soon-to-be-shuttered Google Health online medical records service, Microsoft has an answer: join its service.

Microsoft released a tool today that lets Google Health customers transfer their personal health information to a Microsoft HealthVault account. To protect patient privacy, the tool uses the Direct Project messaging protocols established by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT that authenticate and encrypt the data, sending it only to known, trusted recipients.



E-health records should play bigger role in patient safety initiatives, researchers advocate

Published: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 - 12:37 in Health & Medicine

Patient safety researchers are calling for the expanded use of electronic health records (EHRs) to address the disquieting number of medical errors in the healthcare system that can lead to readmissions and even death. Their commentary is in the July 6 issue of JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association . "Leading healthcare organizations are using electronic health records to address patient safety issues," said Dean Sittig, Ph.D., co-author and professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Biomedical Informatics. "But, the use of EHRs to address patient safety issues hasn't hit the mainstream yet and we think everyone should be doing this."

One way to fast-track the use of EHRs to address patient safety issues would be to incorporate the annual patient safety goals of The Joint Commission, a healthcare accreditation organization, into the criteria for the certification of EHRs, said co-author Ryan Radecki, M.D., who is scheduled to join the UTHealth faculty Aug. 1.



Peeking at medical records an issue for health centers


2011-07-15 22:23:26

A Colorado Springs city health employee recently accused of inappropriately accessing about 2,500 Memorial Health System patient records claimed that “it’s pretty damn common” for medical professionals to peek at files for unwarranted reasons.

“Common” might be overstating things, but statistics suggest it happens more often than patients might realize.

Since 2008, Memorial Health System has had 22 employees who either resigned or were fired in connection with patient privacy issues, including a woman who lost her job earlier this year for breaching 135 patient records to create a database of her friends’ birthdays. Penrose-St. Francis Health Services declined to provide information on breaches at its facilities or discuss the issue.

Nationwide, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights has recorded 292 incidents of electronic medical record breaches involving 500 or more patients since 2009. That excludes the hundreds, if not thousands, of incidents that don’t meet the 500-patient threshold for public reporting.



Hospitals spend up to $100M to scan paper

July 12, 2011 — 3:14pm ET | By Ken Terry

Nearly one-fourth of the 200 facilities surveyed said they are spending $100 million or more to scan paper documents. What's more, 36 percent of those hospitals plan to hold onto their paper records after they're digitized, according to document management and storage firm Iron Mountain.

The government's criteria for Meaningful Use of electronic health records (EHRs) does not mention document management. During the transition to EHRs, however, providers need some way to access electronically the paper charts of patients who have been discharged, at least for some years back. Moreover, hospitals continue to generate new paper documents and receive them from other sources. All of this requires high-speed scanners and staff time to operate them and ensure that the documents are correctly filed.



Imaging diagnosis may represent best-use scenario for IBM's Watson

July 18, 2011 — 11:30am ET | By Dan Bowman

Radiology may very well prove to be a sweet spot for IBM's supercomputer Watson.

At heart, Watson is an electronic health record reader. Once that technology is correctly combined with picture archiving and communication system (PACS) technology, diagnosis times for patients could be shortened tremendously, according to Dr. Eliot Siegel, a radiology professor at the University of Maryland's School of Medicine. "There's great potential for Watson to...[also] offer treatment summaries, synthesize charts and perform safety checks," Siegel says, according to a report by Diagnostic Imaging.



Monday, July 18, 2011

Stimulus Money Still Flowing to Health IT Projects

by Helen Pfister, Susan Ingargiola and Rachel Sam, Manatt Health Solutions

The federal government continues to implement various provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which included the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act. This update summarizes key developments during the second quarter of 2011.

ONC Leadership Changes, Committees March Onward

Farzad Mostashari replaced David Blumenthal as national coordinator for health IT. Mostashari, formerly deputy national coordinator at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, took over the top job in April.

At its June meeting, the Health IT Policy Committee approved the Meaningful Use work group's revised Stage 2 objectives and criteria and the recommendation to delay the transition from Stage 1 to Stage 2 by one year for providers who qualify for meaningful use incentives in 2011. The committee passed on its recommendations to ONC.



Security of patient records breached across the country

July 18, 2011 — 11:38am ET | By Karen M. Cheung

Security breaches of patient records have been popping up in the news recently, with some breaches affecting hundreds.

A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted a former employee of University of Maryland Medical Center, with three others accused, of stealing patient identities to open credit accounts, according to a WBAL TV report.

The Medical Center said, "Protecting our patients' personal information is a top priority. We have policies and procedures in place to ensure that patient information remains strictly confidential. This breach was a result of a crime, and not a lapse of hospital procedures."




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