Latest Commentary

The law both giveth and taketh away patients' rights to access their records

In a year where patient access to their medical records--a right conferred by law--is a priority issue for the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights (OCR), it turns out that the law itself is an added obstacle.

The FDA's draft guidance on EHRs and clinical trials needs more meat

We may finally see more streamlined approval of new drugs and devices, thanks to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's latest effort to push researchers to use electronic health records in clinical trials--draft guidance published this week regarding how to use EHRs as a source of data. Still, the draft guidance is pretty skimpy and raises questions that must be answered.

Slashing funds for HIE access may actually prove more costly

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon last week vetoed a $500,000-line item from the state budget that would have funded data sharing between the state's department of social services and its health information exchange, Missouri Health Connection. At the same time, new research reports that easy data sharing between New York City's immunization registry and clinicians' EHRs "significantly" improved the vaccination rates of children.

At first glance these two news items don't have much in common. But they do; we're talking about Medicaid.

CMS' hands off approach to MU and HIE in Medicaid managed care rule may backfire

Many people have been focused on what the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' new sweeping Medicaid and CHIP managed care rule does. The long-awaited rule, unveiled earlier this week, overhauls and modernizes how Medicare managed care works, bringing much of it into the 21st century.

Data gaps in EHRs must be addressed, not discounted

I'm often cynical about studies that seem flawed, misleading, or not useful. But sometimes a study that seems off the mark or outdated can actually be significant. Last week, a study published...

Are we witnessing the death of public HIEs?

There's been a lot of press about Black Book Rankings' latest study of health information exchanges (HIEs) and how so many providers still are not participating in them. But perhaps a more important and far-reaching finding from this report is that providers and prayers are shifting away from community, public HIEs and moving toward private ones, which Black Book dubs the "replacement revolution."

Does Major League Baseball have gaps in its EHR policies?

Since this is baseball's opening week, I read with particular interest the fact that electronic health records are not only being used to treat Major League Baseball players, but have also become instrumental in helping clubs determine whether a particular trade or free agent would be a good investment. This goes beyond other secondary uses of EHRs in sports, such as population health research. Here, an employer is using the EHR to determine whether a player is healthy enough to be worth a deal. 

Proposed rule giving ONC direct review of certified IT provides opportunity to review agency itself

Most agencies are quick to justify the need of a proposed rule by pointing out the wonderful things it will do, the gaps it will fill, the problems it will resolve. Not the Office of the National...

EHR disparity between Medicaid, Medicare MU docs unacceptable

The unintended creation of disparities caused by the Meaningful Use program has reached a new low.