Latest Commentary

Patients withholding info from EHRs has far-reaching consequences

I hope I'm not the only person who finds the results of a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association on patient perceptions of electronic health record users troubling.

Meaningful Use flexibility rule may open the door to bigger changes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's proposed rule offering some flexibility for attesting to Meaningful Use in 2014 may be one of the few occasions where a rule relating to the program has been met with open arms. But deeper dive reveals a detail that I find particularly interesting: the Medical Group Management Association's suggestion that CMS has overstepped its regulatory authority in Stage 2.

Should pathologists receive special protection from Meaningful Use requirements?

Why is there disconnect between laboratories and electronic health records?

EHRs cause fraud? Not so fast, guys

It turns out that the providers may have been right all along: Simply using an EHR does not lead to fraudulent billing.

EHR interoperability: Fix the potholes or find a new path?

The lack of interoperability among electronic health records, no doubt, is a major impediment to improved healthcare and lower costs. But now we have a much more granular understanding of why the industry is having so much trouble achieving it.

It's time to redesign EHRs to improve patient safety

Providers have been lashing out against subpar electronic health record design for years. They gripe that not only do poorly designed systems impede workflow and cost too much, they also create new patient safety problems and don't share data with other systems to coordinate care, as promised. Still, the industry hasn't done much to address these concerns.

However, maybe now they'll have to. New evidence released this week bolsters what the providers have been saying all along: EHRs, as currently designed, adversely impact patient safety.  

3 ways to better protect healthcare data in the cloud

It's really not surprising that 83 percent of healthcare organizations are using the cloud to store electronic health record information or other data, as reported this week by HIMSS Analytics. As their new survey points out, hospitals and other providers using cloud EHR vendors have lower maintenance costs, faster deployment and fewer internal IT staffing needs. Moreover, HIMSS Analytics reports that even more providers will flock to the cloud, and those already using it will expand that use.

It's like BlackBerry vs. iPhone or, for those who remember, Beta vs. VHS. If one technology overshadows the other, the lesser one becomes outdated and less popular and will eventually be put out to pasture.

3 suggestions for ONC in creating its health IT safety center

It's certainly not unusual for members of Congress to question whether an agency is overstepping its bounds. Just last week, several members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee questioned the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's authority to regulate health IT after the Meaningful Use program ends, as well as the extent to which it can regulate health IT at all for non-Meaningful Use initiatives.

Be prepared: Consumers are about to find out that EHRs are vulnerable

I hope I'm not the only person who finds the results of the latest poll from Morning Consult disturbing.

The poll, released this week, found that more than three-fourths of the American public expects hospitals to use electronic health records, but "only 53 percent" trust the safety of those records. Thirty-nine percent were "worried" about the records' security.

Are you kidding? More than half of the American public actually thinks that their electronic health records are safe? I can't begin to fathom what these people are basing that on.

Should more be done to make docs happier with EHRs?

Many doctors have negative views toward changes they believe hamper their ability to treat patients. To that end, I read with great interest Medscape's new report about how several recent articles on electronic health records had generated a flood of responses from physicians, many of them intense, emotionally charged and diverse.

Physicians have long felt the brunt of change in healthcare. Reimbursement has stagnated, compliance obligations are going through the roof and insurers and new payment models dictate how they practice medicine. Electronic health records seem to fall into a different category, however, since many physicians embrace them.