February 21st Health Exec Briefing

Top Stories

Michigan health officials order McLaren Flint Hospital to address Legionella issues
According to the state health department, McLaren Flint Hospital was associated with 21 Legionella cases in 2014, 29 cases in 2015 and two cases in 2016. The CDC made recommendations to Genesee County and McLaren Flint in October and November 2016 on how to reduce Legionella in the water supply. The hospital invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment and ongoing testing and treatment.
(Becker’s Infection Control & Clinical Quality, February 15)

How optimistic are health IT pros? Extremely, new study finds
Since 2014, the number of healthcare IT professionals who reported feeling “extremely optimistic” about their career opportunities has increased by 47 percent. Health IT professionals are also trending back toward a shorter work week with a 9 percent increase of survey participants working 31 to 45 hours. Read more about health IT pros and their benefits packages and career motivations.
(Healthcare IT News, February 20)

What’s New in Healthcare

CMS: Healthcare spending growth is set to outpace growth in GDP
The Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Wednesday released its annual report in Health Affairs examining Americans’ healthcare spending, projecting average healthcare spending growth of 5.6% per year between 2016 and 2025. The report is based on current healthcare law and did not estimate changes that could come as a result of any new proposed health reforms.
(Fierce Healthcare, February 16)

CHIME starts effort to boost diversity in HIT leadership
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives is taking on the challenge of expanding diversity among executives as it begins plans to develop programs that expand leadership training for women and minorities. Increased executive diversity is crucial because the patients that healthcare organizations serve are more diverse, as are the staffs that direct.
(Health Data Management, February 17)

Memorial Healthcare System pays $5.5 million to settle HIPAA suit over lack of audit controls
“Access to ePHI must be provided only to authorized users, including affiliated physician office staff,” HHS Office for Civil Rights Acting Director Robinsue Frohboese said in a statement. MHS reported to the HHS OCR that the protected health information of 115,143 individuals have been access by its employees and also disclosed to affiliated physician office staff.
(Healthcare IT News, February 17)

Healthcare Innovations

Innovation is more necessary and accessible than ever ­­– just get ready to kill some ideas
Until recently, innovation has been the privilege of the largest and the best-funded players – with its own budget and its own box on the org chart. External capital to fund innovation is flowing into the industry from venture firms and strategic investors, along with talent from the consumer and technology sectors. Read about the steps organizations should take to prepare for such changes.
(Becker’s Hospital Review, February 16)

Lenovo to show Amazon Alexa healthcare applications at HIMSS17
Tom Foley, Director of worldwide health solutions strategy at Lenovo, said, “In order to pivot and move to value-based care, healthcare organizations must think about what they need in their health system and adopt innovation technologies that can help drive change in the ways they need to deliver care.” One way Lenovo is attempting to innovate in healthcare is through an agreement with Amazon to use for healthcare purposes Amazon’s Alexa home voice-based communications system.
(Healthcare IT News, February 13)

EHR Updates

CIOs look to optimize EHRs, but face budget realities
With the Trump administration in place, it still is not clear what will happen with the Affordable Care Act. Many chief information officers at healthcare organizations plan to heavily invest in optimizing their electronic health record systems during the next three years, hoping to achieve savings from optimization efforts and then reinvest those funds, particularly in telehealth and analytics.
(Health Data Management, February 17)

Apps to enable patients to access their EHRs, share with researchers
Using standards to share health information technology and putting people at the center of deciding when and how data should flow is the goal of Sync for Science (S4S). “The basic idea of this is to provide a technology platform where patients choose which apps to share their data with,” said Josh Mandel, MD, research scientist in the Harvard Medical School’s Department of Biomedical Informatics. Read more about how EHRs are facilitating research for easier health data access.
(Health Data Management, February 20)

ONC Updates Providers on Interoperability, EHR Usability Projects
New reporting, innovative payment models, and certification requirements continue to upend the traditional clinical ecosystem, Dr. Jon White, Acting National Coordinator, seemed to have one objective for his Monday town hall even: let providers know that the ONC is actively working towards solutions for their most intractable problems. Read more about the recently released interoperability updates.
(Health IT Analytics, February 21)

Telehealth & mHealth News

Continua: Telehealth Platform Saved Lives After Japan Earthquake
A four-year study of survivors of the 2011 Japan earthquake, published last year in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension, suggest that a telehealth platform can improve outcomes and even save lives if integrated with an internationally recognized interoperability framework that improves data transfer. The Continua Health Alliance is a founding member of the three-year-old PCHA, along with the HIMSS and the mHealth Summit.
(mHealth Intelligence, February 21)

Clinical Communication, Collaboration Key for HIT Systems
A Gartner report released late last year explains that clinical communication and collaboration (CC&C) systems have gained traction because of the increase in mobile device usage by healthcare professionals. Report authors predicted that by 2021, 60 percent of CC&C platforms will offer telemedicine and virtual care capabilities such as teleconsultations, video visits, and remote patient monitoring.
(HIT Infrastructure, February 16)

Security & Analytics

HIMSS17: Patient engagement is all the rage, surveys find
Personal health records or patient portals have been a consistent idea throughout the industry for at least six years but have made little significant headway due to a lack of engagement from patients and an unwillingness of promotion from the provider side. During the HIMSS17, a trio of patient engagement surveys show that access to a patient portal seems to be greater than ever, but true value and adoption could benefit from some coaching from providers.
(Healthcare Dive, February 20)

Specialists Get Higher Marks than PCPs for PCMH Satisfaction
While the parents of pediatric patients are generally happy with the quality of care they receive, primary care providers operating under the PCMH framework could do a better job with the outreach and education portions of the coordinated care model. According to a survey, primary care providers offered better appointment availability – 93 percent approved of how their PCPs handled scheduling appointments versus just 87 percent for specialists.
(Health IT Analytics, February 17)