Report on Survey of Physician Adoption of Electronic Health Records

Health information technology (HIT) has the potential to revolutionize the delivery of health care. This report considers in particular the growth of electronic health records—a common example of HIT—and how it might affect the cost and quality of health care. Health information technology (HIT) refers to a variety of electronic methods used to manage information about people's health and health care.

This report expands on the findings of an earlier report—Health Information Technology in the United States—from 2006 that examined the barriers to widespread HIT adoption and the challenges faced in accurately measuring it. The authors provide new survey data from general physicians and from those serving vulnerable populations, while exploring methods to evaluate the effects of HIT on cost and quality of health care. The chapters of the report focus on a range of topics that include an economic analysis of HIT, the state of HIT internationally, and patients' experiences with electronic health records (EHR) and personal health records.

Key Findings:

  • 13 percent more physicians are using EHR since 2006;
  • there is no significant association between EHR use and quality of care;
  • providers who serve vulnerable populations are no less likely to provide HIT enhanced care than other providers;
  • and several developed nations are approaching universal implementation of EHR systems.

The type of data generated by HIT and EHR can help providers better understand disparities in health care quality and may improve the patient experience and medical outcomes.

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Federal Changes to Improve Telemedicine Promised at ATA Policy Summit

Expect big things for telemedicine policy this year. That was the message from speakers the ATA Federal Telemedicine Policy Summit, held last week in Washington, DC. The event, organized by the American Telemedicine Association, revealed growing federal support for telemedicine services and technologies.

It featured an impressive line-up of speakers, including members of Congress, officials from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Communications Commission and the Food and Drug Administration, as well as an array of leading patient and provider advocates.

Over 250 attendees from across the spectrum of healthcare and technology participated in the event. “The Summit set a new standard, both in terms of the high profile of the speakers, as well as overall attendance,” said Ed Brown, MD, President of the American Telemedicine Association. “I think this reflects a growing realization—both within government and outside the beltway—that telemedicine is a vital component for quality, accessible and cost-effective healthcare.” For the first time, leaders from both sides of the aisle, agency officials and representatives from consumer and industry groups expressed a strong consensus that the federal government should do more to support the deployment of telemedicine and mHealth.

Despite their differing political ideologies and interests, there was a clear consensus amongst Summit speakers about this opinion as well as shared strategies for achieving their common objective. Complete program information from the ATA Federal Telemedicine Policy Summit is available at: http://www.americantelemed.org/summit. “This is a real paradigm shift for telemedicine,” said Jonathan Linkous, CEO of the American Telemedicine Association. “ATA is no longer the lone voice advocating for telemedicine; now we’re coordinating public and private stakeholders and leading a broad coalition for the improvement of healthcare through telemedicine. This development bids well, both for our industry and, more importantly, for patients across America who will benefit from telemedicine technologies.”

The American Telemedicine Association is the leading international resource and advocate promoting the use of advanced remote medical technologies. ATA and its diverse membership work to fully integrate telemedicine into healthcare systems to improve quality, equity and affordability of healthcare throughout the world. Established in 1993, ATA is headquartered in Washington, DC. For more information, please visit http://www.americantelemed.org.

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Catholic Hospice Successfully Implements ActivityDuration Manangement Solution From CellTrak Technologies

Catholic Hospice Successfully Implements ActivityDuration Manangement Solution From CellTrak Technologies

When curative medical treatment is no longer an option, the focus shifts to supporting patient’s quality of life. Catholic Hospice is a community-based not-for-profit program serving the South Florida community since 1988. Catholic Hospice provides responsive end-of-life care for patients of all ages and faiths, and assists families in caring for a loved one with reverence and dignity at the most vulnerable time in life’s journey.

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New 3-Tesla MRI System Unveiled by Siemens

Siemens Healthcare has presented the MAGNETOM® Prisma MRI system at the 98th Congress of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2012 with planned European availability in the second half of 2013. The 3-Tesla MAGNETOM Prisma will offer a new level of MRI imaging, combining high gradient strength and fast gradient slew rates. Based on the same technology platform as the 3-Tesla MAGNETOM Skyra, the MAGNETOM Prisma is capable of high spatial and temporal resolution to achieve excellent image quality, especially with demanding advanced research applications.

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ONC to provide additional funding to accelerate critical access and rural hospitals’ switch to electronic health records

Dr. David Blumenthal, MD, MPP, national coordinator for health information technology in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) today announced an additional $12 million in new technical support assistance to help critical access hospitals (CAHs) and rural hospitals adopt and become meaningful users of certified health information technology.

Today’s funding announcement will come through ONC’s Regional Extension Center (REC) program to provide a wide range of support services to the 1,777 critical access and rural hospitals in 41 states and the nationwide Indian Country, headquartered in the District of Columbia, to help them qualify for substantial EHR incentive payments from Medicare and Medicaid. This funding is in addition to the $20 million provided to RECs in September 2010 to provide technical assistance to the CAHs and Rural Hospitals. “Critical access and rural hospitals are a vital part of our healthcare system.

Health information technology can offer rural health care providers and their patients resources and expertise that may not be currently available in their communities. We recognize that the transition to electronic health records (EHRs) is a challenge and that rural facilities face even greater challenges to make the transition from paper to electronic records,” Dr. Blumenthal said. “This additional funding recognizes the need to address these challenges and represents another important milestone in our commitment to critical access and rural hospitals throughout the country as they transition to EHRs.”

The new funding is provided under the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The HITECH Act created the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs, which will provide incentive payments to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and CAHs that adopt and demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.

Incentives totaling as much as $27.4 billion over 10 years could be expended under the program, which is administered by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In addition, the HITECH Act provided $2 billion through ONC to support technical assistance, training, and demonstration projects to assist in the nation’s transition to EHRs. The additional CAHs and rural hospital funding will be administered through ONC’s Regional Extension Center (REC) program. The RECs are specifically designed to offer a wide range of hands-on technical assistance, guidance, and information on best practices to support and accelerate health care providers’ efforts to become meaningful users of certified EHRs under the Medicare and Medicaid incentives programs. A total of 62 RECs are located throughout the country. This additional funding is being awarded 48 RECs serving CAH and rural hospitals provides in 41 states and the nationwide Indian Country. Serving CAHs and rural hospitals is a priority for the REC program.

The intent of this supplement is to provide additional technical support to critical access and rural hospitals with fewer than 50 beds in selecting and implementing EHR systems primarily within the outpatient setting. The national distribution of RECs make them a particularly effective program to provide community-based hands-on, field support needed to overcome unique barriers that CAHs and rural hospitals may confront as they work to adopt and meaningfully use health IT.

Today’s $12 million round of awards will result in a total of approximately $32 million of funding provided to the RECs to support CAH health IT adoption. The awards announced today available here.

A complete listing of REC grant recipients and additional information about the Health Information Technology Regional Extension Centers may be found at http://www.HealthIT.hhs.gov/programs/REC/.

For information about the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, see http://www.cms.gov/EHRIncentivePrograms For information about the Recovery Act at HHS, see http://www.hhs.gov/recovery.

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AMD and Barco Advance Medical Diagnoses with Enhanced Visual Imaging

Barco selects ATI FirePro™ professional graphics with AMD Eyefinity Technology to deliver Advanced Medical Imaging Technologies with superior performance

AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced that medical imaging specialist Barco has selected ATI FirePro™ 3D Professional Graphics technology for inclusion in its MXRT Series display controller products for demanding medical imaging applications. ATI FirePro professional graphics, with AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology, provides increased visual quality for users across a broad range of healthcare disciplines including radiology, clinical review imaging, surgery and mammography, allowing clinicians to make more informed medical diagnoses. “AMD and Barco are working together to further medical imaging technologies,” said Janet Matsuda, general manager, AMD Professional Graphics. “Barco is a medical imaging leader with a solid track record of delivering the right graphic solutions for this market.

Medical customers are already using three or four monitors to view imaging data, and the AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology and ATI FirePro professional graphics enable clinicians to offer the highest possible level of patient care while holding computer hardware costs down.”

“Our latest line of MXRT display controllers are built with the ATI FirePro 3D technology for leading-edge performance, flexibility and reliability,” said Lynda Domogalla, market director, Barco.

“Driving three displays with just one graphics card strengthens our all-in-one approach which saves space on the PC, simplifies installation, reduces power consumption and assures fast data transfers.”

Barco's extensive line-up of high-precision display systems, including the MXRT-5400 and MXRT-7400, help radiology professionals and doctors more easily see a broader scope of patient details, resulting in i