Healthcare Information Technology

The use of telemedicine has expanded access to care to patients in rural areas and provided a convenient alternative to battling congested physician offices and emergency department waiting rooms. In repeated studies the delivery of medicine through electronic means has reduced the cost of care, improved efficiencies, and provided a realistic solution to increasing shortages of physicians. Despite promising studies, however, multiple barriers continue to present obstacles to widespread adoption and implementation of telemedicine.  One of the greatest barriers to adoption continues to be variances and inconsistencies in state laws governing the practice of medicine.
Continue Reading Recent Relaxation of State-level Challenges to the Expansion of Telemedicine but Barriers Remain

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) continues to work to ensure it is responsive to providers who tried to meet meaningful use standards in 2015 but faced hardships in their efforts. Eligible professionals, eligible hospitals & critical access hospitals (“CAH”) now have until July 1, 2016 to apply to CMS for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program hardship exception under the new, streamlined process under the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act (“PAMPA”), signed by the President in December 2015. CMS indicates on its website that the extension is to ensure “providers have sufficient time to submit their applications to avoid the 2017 payment adjustment.”  Eligible providers who did not meet meaningful use standards for 2015 receive an adjustment to their 2017 payment unless CMS grants a hardship exception.
Continue Reading CMS Grants Extension to Apply for 2015 Meaningful Use Hardship Exemption

Someone asked me last week what it was like to attend the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, which started its annual run today. Outside the conference hotel right now is the obligatory lunchtime sidewalk protest with chants of “Personal Health, Not Corporate Wealth,” while inside healthcare industry investors and operators together are chanting “pop health” instead.  The conference again is well attended, with a broad representation of for-profit and non-profit companies from the health services, health information technology and life sciences sectors.  In a sense, it’s the old-style Times Square of the healthcare industry – stand in one spot at the conference long enough and you’ll see almost every major organization walk by.
Continue Reading Day One Notes – JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, San Francisco

Messaging applications are popular tools to facilitate communication and workflow in healthcare settings—increasingly so as smart phones, tablets and other mobile mediums continue to penetrate the market. Organizations relying on or acquiescing in the use of informal messaging platforms, however, should be aware of the risk for data breaches and other HIPAA liability.
Continue Reading Communications Compliance: Are Messaging Applications Leaving Your Organization Vulnerable to HIPAA Liability?