Once again, the venerable Institute of Medicine has published an important work on healthcare and patient safety, this time on diagnostic errors. The 369-page report, "Improving Diagnosis in Health Care," released Sept. 22, found that most of us will experience a misdiagnosis in our lifetime. And not surprisingly, EHRs and health IT are front and center in the report in both a positive and a negative way.
It's not often that you see one report hedge its bets so often regarding whether something is working. But that's exactly what the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) annual health IT report does regarding the Meaningful Use program.
Just how much power does the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT have, and over what? Its clout seems to be ambiguous, at best.
The healthcare industry has been bombarded with calls to protect patient health information by encrypting it. Speaker after speaker at last week's eighth annual conference on safeguarding health information, co-sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Health and Human Services Department's Office for Civil Rights, brought this point home.
The government receives a lot of criticism for what it does and does not do. Some of that criticism is unfounded. But sometimes it's justifiable.
I have little sympathy for the millions of people who joined the Ashley Madison website that facilitates extramarital affairs and now are dealing with the exposure of their involvement due to hackers. It is naïve in these electronic times to think that there's anything private. But it is disconcerting to think that electronic substance abuse and mental health records are more vulnerable to exposure.
It's significant that the cyberattack Medical Informatics Engineering (MIE) suffered in May appears to be worse than originally thought. But what is also significant is that it's the Indiana Attorney General's office, not the Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights, that's investigating the breach.