News Feature | June 6, 2014

Healthcare IT News For VARs — June 6, 2014

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

Healthcare IT News For VARs

In the news, the ONC reorganizes, NextGen Healthcare announces it can now transmit clinical care information between disparate technology platforms, and the partial code freeze for ICD-9 and ICD-10 is extended. Also, a second year’s worth of data on Medicare hospital utilization has been released to researchers and analysts looking for patterns in healthcare data.

Federal Health IT Office Reorganizes

The Federal Health IT Office director, Karen DeSalvo, has recommended a flatter structure for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), according to InformationWeek. The move to a leaner structure comes at the end of the department’s mandate to promote the use of health information technology using stimulus funds. Before the change, the department was made up of nine offices that reported upward through deputy national coordinators. Now, each office is headed by a director, who reports directly to DeSalvo and Deputy National Coordinator, Jacob Reider, MD.

NextGen Healthcare Announces Vendor Agnostic Interoperability

The wholly owned Quality Systems subsidiary, NextGen Healthcare Information Systems, LLC, has announced that it is now capable of transmitting clinical care information between disparate technology platforms. This advancement allows NextGen Healthcare clients to communicate important clinical information via secure and integrated messaging services with any provider on their network, regardless of their technology vendor. Interoperability is a requirement for achieving Meaningful Use Stage 2 compliance. The complete press release is available from the Wall Street Journal.

Partial Code Freeze For ICD-9 And ICD-10 Extended

Health Data Management reports that the partial code freeze for ICD-9-CM and ICD-10 will be extended through October 1, 2015. The ICD-10 Coordination And Maintenance Committee will continue to meet twice a year during the partial freeze. During the meetings, the public will be given the opportunity to comment on requests for new diagnoses and procedure codes. Earlier in May, CMS announced on its website that according to the Department of Health and Human services, an interim final rule will be released in the near future, that will include a new compliance date requiring the use of ICD-10 beginning October 1, 2015.

CMS And FDA Open Data Initiatives

A second year’s worth of data on Medicare hospital utilization as well as a new OpenFDA API for searching and analyzing a database of drug interaction reports has been released to interested researchers and analysts looking for patterns in healthcare data. The announcement came alongside this week’s Health Datapalooza. According to a report by InformationWeek, the release of the information is intended to provide a deeper understanding of Medicare utilization and the burden that chronic conditions has on the U.S. health system.

Healthcare IT Talking Points

HealthITOutcomes has published a look at UPMC Hamot’s transition to Cerner’s EHR platform and how the transition has worked out for the health system. The report covers the importance of preparation in the process and details the steps UPMC took leading up to the transition. It also covers education and training initiatives UPMC implemented, along with hardware and authentication demands, on-site support requirements and the benefits UPMC has seen from making the transition.

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