News Feature | December 20, 2013

Healthcare IT News For VARs — December 20, 2013

Bernadette Wilson

By Bernadette Wilson


In the news, a forecast warns healthcare providers of their risks for data breaches and the HHS says not all EHR fraud safeguards are in place.

Data Breach Forecast Bleak For Healthcare Industry

The 2014 Data Breach Industry Forecast by Experian includes a section, “Healthcare Breaches: Opening the Floodgates.” It states “The healthcare industry, by far, will be the most susceptible to publicly disclosed and widely scrutinized data breaches in 2014.” The size of the industry and the activities of the Healthcare Insurance Exchanges provide “an expanded attack surface.” The report adds HIPAA regulations add fines and attention to the breaches.

Not All EHR Fraud Safeguards Are Used

The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) report “Not All Recommended Safeguards Have Been Implemented in Hospital EHR Technology” is available. The executive summary says the report was released because health IT experts caution the department that EHR technology can enable fraud. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), contracted with RTI International to develop recommendations to protect against fraud, but the study found audit functions in place, but not used to their full extent. In addition, only about a quarter of hospital have policies regarding “copy and paste,” that could be a “fraud vulnerability.”

Technology Makes EMRs Hands Free

VoiceFirst introduced software technology that allows healthcare providers to use their EMR technology with their voices. Providers can chart and retrieve data without a keyboard.  VoiceFirst says goals of the technology are to increase clinicians’ efficiency and time interaction with patients.

RFID’s Role In Healthcare IT

In response to a reader question, “How is RFID Being Used With Electronic Medical Records?” RFID Journal responds with examples: tracking boxes of paper files, permitting access through tagged ID badges, tracking equipment, maintaining patient records, and monitoring patient flow.

Initial Sites For Interoperability Services Selected

CommonWell Health Alliance chose Chicago, Elkin, NC, Henderson, NC; and Columbia, SC, as the first sites for CommonWell’s interoperability services.  The vendor-led effort plans to connect healthcare providers to exchange data between different care settings. Jeremy Delinsky, chairman of the board for the alliance and CTO for athenahealth says, “Regions within Illinois, North Carolina and South Carolina were chosen because they provide a good footprint of the Alliance’s founding member companies’ health IT systems, along with a strong desire among clients to make interoperability a reality.” The alliance plans to have preliminary results of the initial service launch at the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition in February 2014.

Healthcare IT Talking Points

A HealthWorks Collective article, “How EHRs Can Help You to Save Time, Cost and More,” lists eleven benefits your clients could realize from EHR technology, including cost savings, a reduction in errors, expediting answers to questions about insurance coverage, and facilitating referrals. The article also says EHR use can result in savings from transcription costs, reducing waiting room time and less office space requirements with fewer paper files.

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