News Feature | November 18, 2013

Healthcare IT News For VARs — November 18, 2013

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

BSM-Stethoscope computer

In this week’s news, a survey shows exchanges want standardized pricing and integrated EHR solutions. Also, the Electronic Health Record Association agrees that further investigation is warranted before regulating additional medical IT devices.

Exchanges Want Standardized Pricing, Integration From EHR Developers

Key findings from the annual e-Health Initiative survey on health data exchanges include major concerns about interoperability. The survey, which includes responses from 199 healthcare data exchange initiatives, shows exchanges would like to see standardized pricing and integrated solutions from vendors to overcome interoperability challenges.

HIMSS EHR Association Comments On Regulation Of Health IT Devices

The HIMSS Electronic Health Record Association has commented on the draft recommendations by the FDA Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) Workgroup. The association, which represents more than 40 EHR developers, agrees with the workgroup’s recommendation that new HIT (health information technology) regulation is not appropriate until further investigation. In the association’s November 6, 2013 letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the group states, “We interpret this recommendation to mean that most HIT that is not currently regulated as a medical device should remain unregulated,” but adds FDA, ONC, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, and FCC regulations may review and recommend improvements to resolve agency and cross-agency issues as new technologies emerge. The group also recommends several changes or clarifications to a number of definitions and issues, such as currently unregulated devices receiving a new “Class 0” designation.

HIPAA-Compliant Texting Is A Growing Trend

A HealthTech article looks at the growing need for HIPAA-compliant texting solutions. The article explains that the need for these solutions is growing because texting simplifies the pager-callback system traditionally used by healthcare providers, but standard SMS messaging is not HIPAA compliant.

CMS Launches Virtual Research Data Center

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched its Virtual Research Data Center (VRDC). The center provides quicker access to Medicare and Medicaid program data, and researchers will be able to perform their analyses in the secure CMS environment.

ICD-10 Required For Behavioral Health Organizations

Behavioral health organizations are required to comply with the transition to ICD-10, and an article for Behavioral Healthcare explains the transition as well as how it might affect your behavioral healthcare clients, based on their revenue mix and whether their clinical operations are ready for the transition.

CDT Code Proposed For Dental Terminology

The Health and Human Services (HHS) Department published an interim final rule and comment period in the Federal Register on November 4, 2013, that revises a paragraph of the common Meaningful Use  Data Set 45 CFR 170.102 to allow more flexibility with respect to dental procedures for EHR technology testing and certification. The HHS states the revision is in response to comments that CDT (current dental terminology) should be adopted for dental procedures instead of SNOMED CT (systemized nomenclature of medicine clinical terms) or CPT-4HDPCS (current procedural terminology/ HCFA Common Procedures Coding System) codes, which do not use most dental codes. CDT had previously been designated as “optional.”

Healthcare IT Talking Points

Google Helpouts is a new service that connects you with experts via video chat. A Med City News blog article chose the topic of healthcare-related Helpouts — touted as HIPAA-compliant and secure.

Jason Mark for 3M Health Information Systems advises IT professionals working on ICD-10 implementations to anticipate how to make the data that will be collected accessible for analytical use. 

The Joint Commission’s 2012 Top Performer on Key Quality Measures list of hospitals has been released. The Joint Commission bases selection on excellence in accountability and lists the top 33 percent of all hospitals that report accountability measure performance data.

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