Google Glass in the Doctor’s Office

The Google Glass device, wearable technology with a head-mounted display, is generating controversy over its potential impact on society in general and healthcare in particular.  One of the entrants to the Glass Explorer program, which made the devices available to “bold, creative individuals” for testing, wrote about the possibility of “images filing directly to EMR charts and dictation on the fly all from Glass.”  

Lyfechannel Wins HHS’ Mobile App Challenge

The Department of Health and Human Services recently named Lyfechannel’s myfamily app as the winner of its Mobile App Challenge.  The challenge, sponsored by HHS’ Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and managed with help from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and healthcare IT company Health 2.0, sought software developers to design and create a mobile app that makes preventative care information and content from easily accessible and customizable.  

More Data Breaches, Less Affected Patients

A new report finds that the number of large-scale health data breaches increased last year, while the number of patients affected by them decreased.  The report from California-based IT security audit provider Redspin Inc., titled “Breach Report 2012, Protected Health Information,” looked at 538 breach incidents since August 2009, when the interim breach notification rule under the HITECH Act went into effect;

HIMSS Letter to CMS Supports ICD-10 Date

A February 7th letter signed by the chairwoman and the president/CEO of HIMSS expresses “strong support” for adopting ICD-10 by October 1, 2014.  The letter from Willa Fields (Chair, HIMSS Board of Directors) and H. Stephen Lieber (President/CEO, HIMSS), submitted to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebellius and CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner,

Health IT Spending to Increase

While hospitals and health systems project a decline in capital expenditure budgets, healthcare IT spending seems to be growing, according to a new survey.  Premier’s latest Economic Outlook, which is based on a survey of 617 healthcare executives, shows that 41% of the respondents project their capital spending to increase compared with last year.

$15B Contract Awarded by CMS

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has awarded a $15 billion contract for the creation of a virtual data center and consolidation of its huge datasets.  CMS’ decentralized status makes interoperability difficult at best within the current network of over eighty data centers and data stores, comprising 400 terabytes of Medicare and Medicaid data.

HIE Blueprints Deadline Extended

The Department of Health and Human Services has extended the deadline for states to submit detailed applications for their own Health Information Exchanges.  HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sent letters to all state governors last week advising them of the new December 14, 2012 deadline.

The Affordable Care Act mandates that the states must have HIEs (essentially online marketplaces for health insurance shopping) in place by January 2014.  

Study Finds That EHRs Lead to Higher Care Quality Scores

A study by Weil Cornell Medical College researchers found that using Electronic Health Records systems results in significantly higher care quality scores than using paper records for certain health conditions.  The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, analyzed care quality data regarding over 74,000 patients from 262 physicians using paper records and 204 physicians using EHRs in 2008.

McKesson Acquiring MED3000

San Francisco-based McKesson Corp. has announced plans to acquire MED3000, a developer of physician group management, billing, and revenue cycle tools based in Pittsburgh.  This comes a week after McKesson announced that it had entered into an agreement to purchase MedVentive, a data analytics firm and provider of population and risk management tools for the healthcare industry.