Archive for the ‘Electronic Health Records’ Category
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.
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.
The RxNorm standard clinical drug vocabulary produced by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) now contains more accurate and complete connections between National Drug Codes (NDCs) and standard nonproprietary names of medications recommended for use in electronic health records (EHRs). NLM is the world’s largest medical library and a component of the National Institutes of Health. It also includes, for the first time, the complete set of NDCs from Thomson Reuters’ Red Book, a drug database widely used in the health care industry.
NDCs are product identifiers assigned by manufacturers and packagers of drugs in the United States. They are published on medication labels and packages and are often used in pharmacy inventory control and in dispensing and billing for drugs. If a single manufacturer issues the same medication in packages of different sizes (25 tablets, 50 tablets, etc.), each size has a different NDC. If more than one manufacturer produces the same medication, each assigns different NDCs. In contrast, the RxNorm vocabulary creates standard names and identifiers for the combinations of ingredients, strengths, and dose forms (such as Aspirin 325 MG Oral Tablet) that exist in drugs marketed in the United States. This is the information doctors typically include when they write a prescription because they often can’t know the specific product that will be used to fill it. All medication products that contain the same active ingredients, the same strengths, and the same dose forms have the same RxNorm standard name. This standard name is connected to other information in RxNorm that can be used within EHR systems to improve patient safety.
Accurate and complete connections between NDC product codes and RxNorm standard names and identifiers have many potential uses within an individual patient’s EHR. These include the use of an NDC on a medicine bottle to speed standard data entry or to trigger an alert written in the RxNorm standard that could prevent a medication error. At present, there is no single source that contains the NDCs for all medications currently marketed in the United States. RxNorm has included NDCs provided by the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Multum and Gold Standard drug information sources for a number of years. Starting with the Feb. 7, 2011 release, RxNorm included a revised, filtered version of the NDC data that segregates obsolete NDCs from those currently in the marketplace. It also included First DataBank’s set of NDCs. Since August of 2011, it has included the NDCs from Red Book. Other useful data that Red Book is providing to RxNorm includes better linkages between branded drugs and their NDCs, information about whether or not drugs are still on the market, and Drug Enforcement Agency Class for controlled drugs. This additional information is instrumental in the production of the Current Prescribable Subset of RxNorm.
In a recently published study sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and performed by the RAND Corporation and others, RxNorm was found to have entries for essentially all of the drugs in a sample of 19,743 ambulatory e-prescriptions (electronic prescriptions for patients seen in clinics or physician offices). Some e-prescriptions in the study sample failed to match automatically to an NDC in RxNorm, however. A more complete set of NDCs is likely to eliminate this gap.
For more information about RxNorm, visit the NLM News Release and the NLM UMLS website.
The widespread adoption of electronic medical records makes it possible to more effectively learn from and improve clinical care. A significant challenge is the development and wide spread diffusion of tools that make it possible to aggregate, structure, and analyze medical record data.
The National Library of Medicine (NLM), a significant producer of such tools and a component of the National Institutes of Health, has partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Research and Development and the American Medical Informatics Association’s Natural Language Processing Working Group to launch the Online Registry of Biomedical Informatics Tools Project.
This online catalog was designed to facilitate easier location of available software tools and related resources that can be used to turn medical data into valuable information. Examples of these resources include natural language processing software, knowledge bases, ontologies, and controlled vocabularies, machine learning and data mining software, and visualization tools.
Users of ORBIT can:
- Contribute information about resources;
- Add comments, questions, & ratings about resources;
- Follow resources of interest, receiving notification when any changes are made to resource pages;
- Search by any number of fields including institution, resource type, programming languages, etc.;
- Link to code repositories hosting resources, home institutions of resources, etc.; and
- Share discovered resources with others easily through email or any one of dozens of social networking sites.
To learn more, please visit the Online Registry of Biomedical Informatics Tools (ORBIT) website and the ORBIT About Us webpage.
MedlinePlus Connect now delivers targeted consumer health information in response to even more problem codes! MedlinePlus Connect coverage has expanded to include the descendants of the SNOMED CT CORE Problem List Subset. Previously, the focus was on the CORE Problem Subset codes only. This expanded coverage has doubled MedlinePlus Connect’s coverage of SNOMED CT codes. Coverage of ICD-9-CM continues to grow, and MedlinePlus Connect will support ICD-10-CM in the future.
MedlinePlus Connect is a free service of the National Library of Medicine (NLM), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This service allows health organizations and health IT providers to link patient portals and electronic health record (EHR) systems to MedlinePlus, an authoritative up-to-date health information resource for patients, families, and health care providers. MedlinePlus Connect accepts requests for information on diagnoses (problem codes), medications, and lab tests, and returns related MedlinePlus information.
Don’t hesitate to let the MedlinePlus Connect team or the PSRML know if you have any questions about MedlinePlus Connect. Also, please let MedlinePlus Connect team know if you’d like your company or organization to be added to the MedlinePlus Connect sample users list.
Today the National Library of Medicine (NLM) enhanced the MedlinePlus Connect Web service for problem/diagnosis codes by adding selected links to related information for patients to the XML response. Here’s an example of how these links appear for ICD-9-CM code 493.22 in the Web service response XML. The links appear beneath the topic summary, in bulleted list format. You can see responses for other problem/diagnosis codes by visiting the MedlinePlus Connect Web service demonstration page.
Prior to this release, MedlinePlus Connect returned these selected links via the Web application response but not in the Web service response. This change applies to both English and Spanish responses for ICD-9-CM and SNOMED CT requests.
Special Instructions for Current Users of the MedlinePlus Connect Web Service:
In the Web service response XML, the new links appear in the <summary> node within a new unordered list having the class “NLMrelatedLinks”. The impact on applications that utilize the MedlinePlus Connect Web service is that the block of text beneath the summary and summary attribution grows vertically to accommodate the new links in bulleted list format. Users that would like to display this new content do not need to modify their requests to the service in any way. The links are now available in the XML response.
The range of related links associated with health topics in the MedlinePlus Connect Web service response varies from zero to dozens, depending on the health topic. On average, health topics have four to five related links assigned to them. Users may choose to display all of the links or code their applications to only display a certain number of links. As an example, the MedlinePlus Connect Web application response page only displays a maximum of five related links and gives users the option to “see all” to view the entire list. You can see an example of this expandable/collapsible menu formatting on the Web application response page for ICD-9-CM code 493.22.
Users that prefer not to display this new content should consider suppressing the links in the new “NLMrelatedLinks” class through the use of style sheets.
This enhancement only affects the Web service response for problem/diagnosis codes (ICD-9-CM, SNOMED-CT). There are no changes to the Web application response and no changes to the Web service response for lab tests or medications.
If you have questions about this enhancement, please contact the MedlinePlus Connect team.
President Barack Obama has declared the week of September 11-16, 2011, National Health Information Technology Week.
National Health Information Technology Week is a time to highlight the importance of efficient information systems that protect the privacy and security of personal health information while improving the delivery of health care in the United States.
There is no better time for the health information technology (health IT) community to come together to raise national awareness regarding the consistent breakthroughs and hard work industry professionals, providers, and consumers put forward on a daily basis to ensure they are moving toward the common goal of advancing the future of health care through private and secure health IT.
Learn more about health IT by visiting HealthIT.gov.
Today the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in conjunction with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) will be hosting the first of-its-kind-Consumer Health IT Summit this morning at 10:00am PDT.
What Is the Summit About? The Secretary of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, will be discussing new innovative and regulatory initiatives in support of consumer access to their health information. At the Summit, consumers, providers, and public and private sector leaders will join together to discuss best practices for empowering consumers to become active partners in their health care by accessing and using their health information. More than 30 organizations and patients who have experienced benefits from access to information through health IT will be in attendance at the Consumer Heath IT Summit to pledge their support for this important initiative that will help improve patient care and health outcomes.
How to Attend: There will be a live webcast of the Summit. Please join by visiting http://www.hhs.gov/live/
The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health Information Technology has launched its new website, HealthIT.gov. This website is designed to become the leading national resource on health information technology (health IT) for both consumers and health care professionals.
Health is personal. It’s personal for the parent who has a child with asthma. It’s personal for the patient with a new cancer diagnosis. And it’s personal for the doctor who is responsible for caring for them. At its core, HealthIT.gov is about patients, and it’s about helping them get the information they need, connecting them to resources that empower them to make changes, and ultimately, improving the nation’s health—one person at a time.
Whether you are a parent who is wondering how an electronic health record (EHR) will affect her family’s privacy or a provider who is overwhelmed by the idea of transitioning to EHRs, HealthIT.gov has the resources to help answer your questions.
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is pleased to announce that a set of 20 curriculum components is now available to the public at no cost, including all institutions of higher education nationwide and internationally. Funded by the $10 million ONC Curriculum Development Centers Program, these teaching materials have been in use for the past year by the 82 member colleges of the ONC Community College Consortia Program. It is expected that these materials will fill an urgent need in the educational marketplace.
Designed around the six mobile workforce roles identified by ONC, the components are intended to become the building blocks of health IT courses at community colleges and universities. In-service training and continuing education programs at health care institutions and Regional Extension Centers may also benefit from the use of the components. Each component is made up of several units that can be modified and combined to meet the needs of instructors as they design their courses. The components include slide-based lectures with audio narration and transcripts, learning activities, self-assessment questions with answer keys, and instructor manuals.
The components cover topics such as workflow process redesign, technical support, networking, usability, and project management, among others. Three of the components offer a hands-on lab experience for students supported by the VistA for Education electronic health record software package, also available at no cost.
To obtain the materials, go to http://www.onc-ntdc.org/ or http://www.onc-ntdc.info/ to set up a profile and download the components.