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Archive for the ‘Electronic Health Records’ Category

Data Dashboards: A Visual Evaluation Tool

Data dashboards provide a mechanism to use visualization, rather than words, to get a quick overview of progress made towards programmatic goals, and to engage stakeholders in the evaluation process. To use data dashboards effectively, it is important to define the user group(s) involved and to select recognizable metrics from trusted sources. There are a variety of resources available to assist with producing dashboards for web sites, blogs, etc., including Juice Analytics, Tableau Software, and Google Analytics. After registering with Juice Analytics, one resource to consider is a white paper listed in the “Visualization Resources” category, called A Guide to Creating Dashboards People Love to Use. Once established, data dashboards can monitor the progress of a program, communicate progress to stakeholders, and provide early signs of problems that may be arising.

To get an idea of a final product, a good example to view is the Health IT Dashboard showing the implementation of the Regional Extension Center (REC) Cooperative Agreement Program, coordinated by the federal Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). The REC program is funded to provide technical assistance for EHR implementation to 100,000 primary care providers, through 62 nationwide sites. The dashboard charts the enrollment of primary care providers in this program, and monitors their efforts to become meaningful users of electronic health records (EHRs). Dashboards could be a colorful, visual way for you to show what you do to benefit the overall institution!

New Resources Available on logoThis week, the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) added a number of resources to Highlights include:

Stage 2 Meaningful Use—Final Rules: On Thursday, August 23, ONC and The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released final requirements for the Stage 2 Electronic Health Records Incentive programs and Standards & Certification Criteria. Information and resources about both rules are available on a new Meaningful Use Stage 2 page.

New Consumer Videos Available: In recent weeks, ONC has expanded its library of consumer-friendly videos. New videos available in the Patients and Families section of include an animated video about the benefits of health IT, as well as winners of two consumer video challenges. Watch the videos.

Redesigned Federal Advisory Committee (FACA) Pages Launched: Webpages for the Health IT Policy and Standards committees and workgroups meetings featuring a new meeting calendar are now available. Visit the new FACA pages to view calendars and other resources for both the Health IT Policy Committee and the Health IT Standards Committee.

Read the Buzz from Your Mobile Device: ONC launched its Health IT Buzz blog mobile website. Readers can now access information about health IT and view important updates from ONC from their smartphone or other mobile devices. Read the Health IT Buzz blog.

Remember to visit the web site often for the latest information and resources, and to stay up-to-date on how health IT is improving America’s health and health care!

MyMedList Now Available from the NLM Gallery of Mobile Apps and Sites!

MyMedListMyMedList (MML) has been released as a free Apple iOS app on the NLM Gallery of Mobile Apps and Sites. MML, developed by the National Library of Medicine, is designed to maintain a record of an individual’s current and past medications, which is easily accessible and adequately protected. MyMedList allows users to electronically manage their medication list(s), and control access to their personal information. The medication list can be printed out to share, mailed to a relative, serve as a reminder to the individual for taking medications, or be shown as reference information in doctors’ offices or hospitals. The app is based on standards; MML follows the HL7 standard for CDA/CCD and uses RxNorm data for prescription medications.

Edit: MyMedList is no longer being actively maintained and was removed from the iTunes. (1/13/14 LT)

NLM Tools for EHR Certification and Meaningful Use

Photograph of doctor and patientThe National Library of Medicine provides free access to vocabulary standards, applications, and related tools that can be used to meet US EHR certification criteria and to achieve Meaningful Use of EHRs. MedlinePlus Connect, RxNorm, SNOMED CT, and LOINC are resources either created by or supported by NLM that can be used for providing patient-specific education materials, e-prescribing, and creating, exchanging, and interpreting standardized lists of problems, medications, and test results. For additional information, please visit the NLM Tools for EHR Certification and Meaningful Use webpage.

HHS Secretary Announces Delay of ICD-10 until October 1, 2014

In a new press release from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a proposed rule that would delay the compliance date for ICD-10 from October 1, 2013 to October 1, 2014. The ICD-10 compliance date change and proposed rule would adopt a standard for a unique health plan identifier (HPID), adopt a data element that would serve as an “other entity” identifier (OEID), and add a National Provider Identifier (NPI) requirement. The proposed rule was developed by the Office of E-Health Standards and Services (OESS) as part of its ongoing role, delegated by HHS, to establish standards for electronic health care transactions under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Additional details about the proposed rule may be found on the CMS ICD-10 fact sheet.

The proposed changes would save the health care industry up to $4.6 billion over ten years by enabling greater automation of electronic health care transactions, in turn helping physicians spend less time interacting with health plans, and more time with patients. The proposed rule would implement several administrative simplification provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The proposed rule also would delay by one year, until Oct. 1, 2014, the date by which covered entities must comply with International Classification of Diseases, 10th Edition diagnosis and procedure codes (ICD-10). Covered entities are defined in HIPAA as (1) health plans, (2) health care clearinghouses, and (3) health care providers who electronically transmit any health information in connection with a transaction for which HHS has adopted a standard.

Some provider groups have expressed serious concerns about their ability to meet the October 1, 2013 compliance date. CMS and HHS believe the change in the compliance date for ICD-10, as proposed in this rule, would give providers and other covered entities more time to prepare and fully test their systems to ensure a smooth and coordinated transition among all industry segments. Please visit the ICD-10 web site for the latest news and resources to help you prepare for a smooth transition!

Proposed Rule for Stage 2 Meaningful Use Posted to the Federal Register

The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for Stage 2 meaningful use was posted to the Office of the Federal Register today. The proposed rule outlines the next stage of meaningful use for the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs, administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS has developed a fact sheet to give providers an overview of the rule and how Stage 2 expands upon Stage 1 of meaningful use. Additional information about meaningful use is available on the CMS EHR Meaningful Use Overview web page.

NLM’s 175th Anniversary: Reflections from the Director

U.S. Medicine is a publication serving healthcare professionals working in the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service. It provides a mix of news, medical updates, interviews, reports on special government topics and monthly columns. In the recently published special issue, This Year in Federal Medicine – Outlook 2012, National Library of Medicine Director Dr. Donald A.B. Lindberg, MD, took the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate NLM’s 175 years of public service, and to look ahead to 2012 and beyond. He began by reviewing the enormous amount of electronic information generated through resources such as PubMed and MedlinePlus. He also acknowledged the role of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine in promoting access to health information throughout the U.S., and the support and training that NLM provides in the areas of biomedical informatics and health information technology. Dr. Lindberg also addressed the emerging opportunities to link NLM’s health information resources with electronic health records. Even though Dr. Lindberg expects budgetary challenges for NLM in 2012 and beyond, his outlook for the future remains very positive, as he envisions that NLM’s range of services will continue to expand into new areas of biomedical research and health care.

Specific themes mentioned by Dr. Lindberg in his future outlook include the continuing growth of NLM resources, such as PubMed/MEDLINE, PubMed Central, and In addition, several new NLM resources will be released in 2012, including a Genetic Testing Registry and a database of clinical significant human genetic variants. Dr. Lindberg also expects the continued development of NLM resources related to disaster preparedness, and he noted the recent deployment of these resources in events such as the Gulf Oil Spill, and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Dr. Lindberg also expects that NLM will continue to utilize and expand the range of social media tools, mobile applications, and mobile versions of its resources to reach new and diverse audiences with high quality health information. He mentioned the impressive array of social media currently used by NLM, including 13 Twitter feeds, notably @medlineplus and the Spanish-language version @medlineplusesp, six Facebook pages and a new YouTube channel. The full text of Dr. Lindberg’s remarks is available on the U.S. Medicine web site.

New Health Information Technology (HIT) Resource Targets Rural Health Providers

A new Health Information Technology Toolkit will serve as a pilot program for providing health information technology (HIT) resources to rural health care providers. The toolkit, developed by the Rural Assistance Center (RAC) and the National Rural Health Resource Center (The Center) is designed to help rural providers find resources for HIT, electronic health records (EHR), meaningful use and related topics. Funding for the toolkit is provided by the federal Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP). This toolkit was developed as a result of the President’s Rural Health Initiative, which identifies HIT as a priority. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius established the Rural HIT Taskforce to address challenges rural communities face in adopting HIT and achieving meaningful use. The taskforce offers ways to meet those challenges and show rural communities how to coordinate federal resources. The taskforce is co-chaired by HRSA Administrator Dr. Mary Wakefield and National Coordinator for HIT Dr. Farzad Mostashari.

Using the toolkit, rural communities will be able to address challenges in finding capital funding; provide support to community colleges to enhance training programs; stay informed about legislation affecting EHRs; and leverage multiple federal resources for project development. Toolkit resources provide guidance in the planning, setup, implementation, and operation of an HIT infrastructure. Additional resources provide information about locating training programs, funding support, management expertise, and the meaningful use program. Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

Privacy and Security Mobile Device Good Practices Project Launched

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), Office of the Chief Privacy Officer (OCPO), recently launched a Privacy & Security Mobile Device project, in conjunction with the HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR). The project goal is to develop an effective and practical way to bring awareness and understanding to those in the clinical sector to help them better secure and protect health information while using mobile devices (e.g., laptops, tablets, and smartphones). Building on the existing HHS HIPAA Security Rule – Remote Use Guidance, the project is designed to identify privacy and security good practices for mobile devices. Identified good practices and use cases will be communicated in plain, practical, and easy to understand language for health care providers, professionals, and other entities.

HHS will be looking for input. There will be a public roundtable event in Spring 2012. Information about other HHS mHealth activities is available on the mHealth Initiative web site.

HHS Announces Changes to Timeline for Meaningful Use

On November 30, 2011, US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced policy changes designed to make it easier for health care providers and hospitals to qualify for meaningful use incentive payments, Modern Healthcare reports. Secretary Sebelius announced the changes during an event at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health records can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments. Under current regulations, eligible health care providers that attest to Stage 1 of the Medicare EHR incentive program this year would need to meet Stage 2 requirements in 2013. However, health care providers who attest to Stage 1 in 2012 would not need to meet Stage 2 requirements until 2014, but they still would be eligible for the same total incentive payment amount.

To encourage greater participation in the meaningful use program, Secretary Sebelius said that health care providers who meet Stage 1 requirements this year would not need to meet the Stage 2 standards until 2014. According to an HHS statement, “Doctors who act quickly can also qualify for incentive payments in 2011 as well as 2012.” HHS will launch outreach efforts to inform health care providers and health IT vendors about the policy changes. The agency said it will target outreach, education and training to eligible health care providers that have registered for the Medicare EHR incentive program but have not yet met the meaningful use requirements.

Secretary Sebelius also announced the release of a new Centers for Disease Control survey showing that the percentage of U.S. physicians who have adopted basic EHRs has doubled from 17% in 2008 to 34% in 2011. During the same time period, the percentage of primary care doctors using basic EHRs nearly doubled from 20% to 39%. The survey also found that 52% of office-based U.S. physicians now plan to participate in the meaningful use incentive program.