Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Healthcare Technology News Cited as Top Healthcare Blog

HITECH Survival Guide announces their list of the top healthcare blogs. Healthcare Technology News makes the list.

These blogs "represent a wide selection of healthcare related authors with varying perspectives, writing on topics spanning from healthcare policy and law, to HIT, EHR vendors, standards, and a host of topics in between. Depending on your particular area of interest, you will find authors whose points of view range from the "big picture" to "the down and dirty" details... The transformation of the health care industry, fueled by the Obama administration's healthcare initiatives, is moving forward at an accelerated pace. Reading the Top Healthcare Blogs is among the best ways to stay current."

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Apparent Trap

The Daily Show investigates the upcoming bi-partisan televised summit on health care reform. "About time. An open transparent substantive conversation on one of the most pressing issues of our day. Or to put it another way... It's a trap!"

Also: Health care in Hawaii.

The Apparent Trap

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Shopping for Health Software, Some Doctors Get Buyer's Remorse

By Emma Schwartz

Monday, February 15, 2010

David Blumenthal Recaps ONC's Actions Launching HITECH

The February 4 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine includes Dr. David Blumenthal's report on Launching HITECH. His report includes a summary of the various investment actions including:

"Defining meaningful use is a first step toward (using EHRs to improve processes of care and outcomes) ... but other elements must also fall into place. Multiple studies have shown that health care providers need help overcoming several key obstacles to adopting and using HIT. Many lack the financial resources to purchase, implement, and maintain EHRs. They also lack the technical expertise to pick the right HIT systems and use them in ways that will improve care. And no infrastructure exists in most areas of the country for secure health information exchange among providers and between providers and consumers. The various HITECH Act programs and regulations address these obstacles."

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

National Health Expenditures Top 17% of GDP

A new HHS study shows that health care costs increased last year at the fastest rate in more than a half century. Health care spending rose to an estimated $2.5 trillion in 2009, or $8,047 per person—and is now projected to nearly double by 2019 to $4.7 trillion.

"Spending on health care consumed an estimated 17 cents of every dollar spent last year in the US, representing the largest one-year increase since the federal government started tracking the number in 1960. By 2019, health care spending will represent 19.3% of the nation's total economic output, according to a report released today by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The report is the latest indication of the nation's mounting medical expenses and it comes as Congress has stalled on President Obama's proposal to revamp the health care system."

Growth in national health expenditures (NHE) in the United States is expected to have increased faster than the growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) last year, according to a report issued today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

In 2009, NHE is projected to have reached $2.5 trillion and grown 5.7 percent, up from 4.4 percent in 2008 (the latest available historical year), while GDP, with the economy still in recession, is anticipated to have declined 1.1 percent.

"The projected acceleration in growth for 2009 was due in part to faster spending growth for the Medicaid program (9.9 percent; up from 4.7 percent in 2008), reflecting increasing growth in enrollment associated with the recession. Also contributing to the acceleration was faster growth in the use of a variety of health care services as many sought treatment for the H1N1 virus and an expected increase in the take-up rate for coverage provided through COBRA in response to the government's subsidization of COBRA premiums. As a result of NHE growth outpacing GDP growth in 2009, the health share of GDP is expected to have increased from 16.2 percent of GDP in 2008 to 17.3 percent in 2009, which would represent the largest one-year increase in history."

Monday, February 8, 2010

Obama Proposes Bi-Partisan Meet on Health Care Reform

Barack Obama took advantage of the super-sized Super Bowl pre-game audience to propose a televised half day bi-partisan summit on health care reform later this month. "I want to ask them to put their ideas on the table, and then after the recess, which will be a few weeks away, I want to come back and have a large meeting, the Republicans and Democrats, to go through systematically all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward."

Obama posed the questions he has for the Republicans: "How do you guys want to lower costs? How do you guys intend to reform the insurance market so that people with pre-existing conditions, for example, can get health care? How do you want to make sure that the 30 million people who don’t have health insurance can get it? What are your ideas specifically?"

Obama said that when he talked about the "best ideas out there", he was starting from the bills passed by the House and Senate, not from "square one" as preferred by the Republicans.

Referring to an Anthem Blue Cross price increase of 39% on indiviudal plans, Obama asserted that "it's going to keep on beating down families, small businesses, large businesses; it's going to be a huge drain on the economy. We're going to have to do something about it, and I think we can."

"The biggest thing - - the most important thing that we can do on deficits is to get a health care reform package passed. The package that we put together, the Congressional Budget Office says will cut the deficit by a trillion dollars. Even in Washington that's real money."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Top 50 Healthcare IT Blogs

Healthcare Technology News is in good company with this A-list of the Top 50 Blogs in Healthcare IT. The ten noted for Healthcare IT News and Opinion include:
  • "Chilmark Research: Chilmark Research is a healthcare industry analyst firm performing market research and analysis on healthcare information technology (HIT) adoption and use.
  • EMR Daily News: More than news, this blog offers insight from techs who have been at the periphery of the Electronic Medical Records for several years.
  • Health IT Buzz: Straight from the government’s computer to your eyes. This blog provides updates for citizens, healthcare consumers, health providers, and any organizations supporting healthcare and health IT, including federal agencies and others.
  • Healthcare Collaboration: Dr. Cohn is a board-certified general surgeon who focuses on collaboration both physically and electronically between physicians and between hospitals and patients.
  • Healthcare Technology News: This blog has convinced many readers that health information technology is going to play a major role in shaping the American healthcare experience in coming years.
  • HISTalk: This is a valuable resource, filled with blog entries, articles, news, discussion, job opportunities and more, all focused solely on HIT.
  • Informaticopia: Rod Ward & colleagues offer a UK perspective on worldwide coverage of news and views on health informatics and elearning.
  • Lab Soft News: Bruce Friedman is a pathology professor and the founder of a yearly clinical lab software conference. He also is credited with having named the field of pathology informatics in 1990.
  • Medical Connectivity: You will find news and opinion at this blog, which focuses on health care, medical device connectivity and related issues.
  • Neil Versel’s Healthcare IT Blog: A healthcare journalist’s views on the major segment of the industry he covers — HIT. He also has a podcast."

Monday, February 1, 2010

Privacy Survey - In Providers We Trust

Ponemon Institute published their study today surveying American opinions on privacy of their health information. Findings include:

71% of Americans trust their providers with their medical information much more than they trust payers (43%), state and local government (31%), private information technology companies (27%) or the federal government (27%).

Americans consider the privacy of their healthcare information important, with 75% wanting providers to ensure the privacy of their health care information.

Features considered more important by patients included biometric or key security (59%), ability to change the health record (53%), access authorization (52%) and access over the Internet (50%).

Andy Greenberg (Forbes) concludes that "the biggest controversy over electronic health records may be aimed at tech companies' projects such as Microsoft's HealthVault or Google Health, both of which are designed to act as online interfaces to a Web user's medical information. Asked to rate the sensitivity of various types of personal information, users rated health records as far more sensitive than other information they typically share with Web companies. On a scale from one to seven, medical data received an average rating of 6.64, while credit card information received only a 4.27 and online search records just a 1.86."

The survey introduced bias by telling repondents that the the U.S. government is considering implementing a national database for the management of health records - - a representation that is misleading at best. The study, ostensibly sponsored by the Crowe Horwath accounting firm, doesn't indicate who might be behind Crowe Horwath's interest in this topic.