News Feature | June 20, 2014

Healthcare IT News For VARs — June 20, 2014

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

Healthcare IT News For VARs

In this week’s news, ALCs step up use of EHRs (electronic health records), and Georgia EHR implementation is under fire after patient safety concerns.

Assisted Living Centers Increasing Use Of EHRs

According to InformationWeek, Assisted Living Centers (ALC) are making bigger use of EHRs, primarily because of an increase in the levels of patients who require more complex care, staffing issues, and the need for risk-reduction programs. According to the article, half of ALC residents have three or more chronic conditions, with 42 percent having Alzheimer’s or dementia. ALC organizations, having seen the successes hospitals and medical practices have had with EHRs, are adopting the technology to improve operations and staff efficiency and reduce patient risk.

Georgia EHR Rollout Woes Blamed On IT

Athens Regional Medical Center in Georgia went live with their Cerner EHR system on May 4. The system troubles have been blamed on a lack of user training, too much input from the IT department, and a lack of input from clinicians. The system, which cost ARMC $31 million and was provided by Cerner, has earned criticism from physicians, with about a dozen signing a letter to former ARMC CEO and President, James D. Thaw and Vice President and CIO Gretchen Tegethoff after the system went live last month. Issues have also been blamed on an aggressive project timeline that caused communication problems and medication errors that ultimately put patients at risk. Read more from the Athens Banner-Herald.

CMS Posts ICD-10 Training Webinars Geared To Small Practices

CMS has rereleased a series of ICD-10 webcasts for providers. The series is a part of its “Road To 10” initiative, and focuses on the needs of small practices. It includes webcasts for family practice and internal medicine, pediatrics, cardiology, orthopedics, and OB/GYN. Each webinar is presented by an AHIMA-certified coder, and focuses on ICD-10 clinical documentation needs for each specialty, according to Health IT Outcomes.

Customer Satisfaction Trends For EMR Software Applications

TCS Healthcare Technologies, the Case Management Society of America, and the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review Physicians has released a report on the 2012 Health IT Survey that includes results around customer satisfaction with EMR software systems. The report analyzes issues including user satisfaction ratings, in-house versus vendor applications, adoption rates, and health IT trends. Overall, the study revealed a satisfaction with EMR systems, but also highlighted room for improvement, especially around rate of adoption. Details and information on free downloads can be found here.

Healthcare IT Talking Points

This article, from Government Health IT, discusses whether EHR interoperability is a true possibility, or if the industry as a whole has gotten caught up in hype. It names semantic interoperability, provider workflow, privacy, security and patient identity and safety as hurdles that will need to be overcome to achieve genuine interoperability. addresses a recent research report in which hospital executives, in their efforts to manage costs, go beyond group purchasing organizations and accountable care organizations, and are showing increasing interest in partnerships with federal and private payors in risk-based contracting efforts.

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Healthcare IT Resource Center.