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Using Social Media to Market and Brand Your Medical Practice

Using Social Media to Market and Brand Your Medical Practice | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

As the Internet has become the medium of choice for researching health information, social media has become an important part of how your medical practice gets found online. In today’s social media-connected, content marketing rich environment, doctors who are not using social media as part of their marketing strategy are missing out. This article will give you an overview of why and how you should brand and market your practice online, along with examples of those physicians who are leading the way with social media marketing.

 

But first, what exactly does “branding” mean?

 

Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers. (Business Dictionary.com)

 

There are many elements which make your brand more readily identifiable, ranging from tangibles like your logo, tagline and promotional materials to the more intangible - how telephone calls are answered in your practice and how you are perceived by your patients. Doctors position themselves in the healthcare market by speciality, but also by the quality of their work, their reputation, and as an acknowledged expert on specific medical conditions.

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Advocates Criticize AHA's Stance on Patient Access to Health Data

Advocates Criticize AHA's Stance on Patient Access to Health Data | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
Patient advocates have criticized the American Hospital Association for recommending that CMS loosen its proposed patient access requirements for Stage 2 of the meaningful use program, Health Data Management reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 5/2).


Under the 2009 federal economic stimulus package, health care providers who demonstrate meaningful use of certified electronic health record systems can qualify for Medicaid and Medicare incentive payments.

 

 

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5 tips for running a successful social media plan on a non-profit budget

5 tips for running a successful social media plan on a non-profit budget | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Learn how to create a plan and build upon connections in your social media efforts.

 

1. Go in with a plan: One of the biggest mistakes non-profits make with social media is assuming that it's free, so they should just jump right in. Conducting some online listening in your space can help you identify influencers online, where they are located and what they are saying to allow for better connections.

 

2. Work with what you've got: Is your communications team already managing some online assets? Can you direct traffic to them if you start up new social media channels? What are you doing on the traditional side that could be used online? Remember that social media is about starting a dialogue and you have been talking with your constituents for years already, so use that to your advantage.

 

3. Make a schedule: One of the worst things you can do is overload your social media outreach the first month you are engaged only to do nothing the next two months. It is important to engage with your base on an ongoing basis, rather than push out a large amount of content periodically. Making sure you have a planned engagement calendar mapped out for a year can save you heartache and money down the line.

 

4. Forge connections: You are not out there alone. There is likely a world of people who are already engaged with the cause and share your concerns. Connect with them and leverage the assets they have to help promote it.

 

5. Track your progress: Oftentimes, social media programs are deemed a waste of money and dropped because of the failure to track assets, share of voice, engagement, registration numbers and other data before a campaign versus after a campaign. Forgetting to keep a record of this data can make even the greatest social media program look lackluster. Evaluating your program is, of course, part of Public Relations 101, and social media is no different.

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6 must-haves for effective customer support in health IT

There's no denying that customer service is a key driver of success in any business. And when it comes to health IT, strong customer support is that much more important to successfully implement tools aimed at improving patient care and reducing costs.

 

Sonal Patel, vice president of client services at Corepoint Health and Cathy Wickern, system analyst at Washington-based Highline Medical Center, outline six must-haves for effective customer support in health IT.

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Establish Your Social Media Risk Quotient

Establish Your Social Media Risk Quotient | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
There is an odd balancing act when it comes to risk tolerance at pharmaceutical companies. On the one hand, the industry is incredibly risk averse. Whether it’s because of the heavy regulations, steep consequences or the overall culture, most pharma companies avoid and mitigate risk at all costs. On the other hand, the pharmaceutical industry is based on a series of large bets in the clinical research pipeline. These are bets that would make any poker shark fold without hesitation.

 

It is this balancing act that contributes to some of the difficulties in getting pharmaceutical social media programs off the ground. Many companies lack a solid grasp of exactly what their risk quotient is when it comes to social media. And to complicate matters, a successful social media strategy needs to incorporate stakeholders from several functional areas including: legal, regulatory, safety, IT, marketing and PR. It’s likely that your legal team is going to have a different tolerance for risk than your marketing team.
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Physicians Leveraging Social Media to Educate Patients

Social media sites are not just a healthcare marketing or recruitment tool.

 

Many physicians are still hesitant about using social media in their professional lives. Concerns range from time commitment, liability, patient privacy, and unfamiliarity with the technology, to the appropriateness of social media interactions in a professional setting.

 

According to a study by QuantiaMD, 87% of physicians use at least one social media site for personal use, but only 67% use at least one social ­media site professionally. Of those physicians who use social media professionally, the plurality (28%) are participating in physician communities.

 

When it comes to sites that ­encourage patient-physician interaction, the percentage of physicians on those sites drops significantly. For example, only 15% of physicians are on Facebook professionally, 8% use YouTube, 8% read blogs, 3% use Twitter, and 3% are involved in patient communities.

 

But physicians should know that social media sites are not just a healthcare marketing or recruitment tool. They can also help educate and engage patients—and physicians play a vital role in those conversations.

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Healthcare Social Media Study Shows Enormous Opportunity for Companies

Social media is drastically changing the way people operate in the healthcare space.

 

Here’s what’s really alarming: There is a huge discrepancy between the amount of time that consumers and health seekers are spending online compared to the miniscule amount of social media activity coming from hospitals, health insurers and pharmaceutical companies.

 

According to a 2011 study by the nonprofit research firm Pew Internet & American Life Project, the third biggest use for the Internet — just behind a general search and checking your email — is searching for online health information.

 

Now, a new report by the Health Research Institute (HRI) at PwC US called Social media likes healthcare: From marketing to social business says that healthcare companies are launching social media sites (eight in 10 healthcare corporations have at least one social entity), but that community sites have a whopping 24 times more social media activity than corporate sites.

 

This gap represents a huge opportunity. For over four years, Spiral16 has been helping healthcare brands, facilities, and health providers understand where and how to implement their social media strategies. Before you can direct your efforts, you must listen and gather online research that will inform your strategy and help you efficiently communicate with health seekers. Here’s a slidedeck about Social Media Listening and Strategy for Healthcare:

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8 Social Media Tips for Physicians

Develop a social media policy. This is true for all institutions no matter their size—even a small mom-and-pop clinical ­practice with one provider needs to have a social media policy. Remember, your employees will be on social media, and unless you have policy for behavior, you can't define how they are going to engage

 

Be clear that the thoughts and views expressed are yours and not the hospital's or group practice's.

 

Stay professional. A good rule to follow is that the same conversations you can have in a public elevator or Starbucks, you can have online.

 

Something that you would not do in ­public—such as using unflattering language or discussing personal patient information—shouldn't be done online either.

 

Determine what level of personal information you want to share. Dana Lewis's advice for doctors is if they state on their physician profile that they enjoy skiing and ­hiking with their family, it is fine to post a picture of them ­hiking or talking about that. That type of information can make ­doctors more approachable, says Lewis, interactive ­marketing specialist for Swedish Medical Center. But it's up to ­physicians to figure out what they are ­comfortable with.

 

Start small. Physicians who are interested in social media should start with Twitter, suggests Timimi. "There is utility in claiming your Twitter username—names are not recycled—and it should be suitable across multiple platforms, so I'd use the same name across LinkedIn and Facebook, and then decide whom you want to engage with and engage."

 

All content doesn't have to be created and posted on the same day. A lot of content is still relevant months later, so bring it back up, says Lewis. "If you do anything like live stream videos, definitely package your efforts and show them off because they are still great resources after they happen."

 

Be cautious of how you use Facebook. "A practice or department can have a Facebook page, but if a physician has one, they should be cautious about friending patients," says Timimi, explaining that there are always tags that occur that extend beyond the physicians themselves.

 

Putting a "like me on Facebook" or "follow me on Twitter" icon on a Web page is not social media, Timimi says. "If your goal is truly engaging consumers to improve healthcare and achieve brand recognition for your institution, there has to be more conversation than that."

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FDA Looking Into Use of Technology Tools To Help People Self-Diagnose, Obtain Medications

FDA is considering whether consumers should be able to use online questionnaires, patient kiosks or other technologies to conduct self-screenings and obtain certain medications that currently require prescriptions


Experts say such technology could allow FDA to make certain drugs used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma and migraines available over-the-counter

 

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Wireless Big Data in the Cloud | HealthWorks Collective

Wireless Big Data in the Cloud | HealthWorks Collective | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
Big Data

 

This is the newest of our buzz words, but the healthcare implications are huge and exciting. The term Big Data is a colloquialism referring to the power of collecting and analyzing large data sets. The companies that provide storage and super-computing services are salivating at the opportunities to bring this technology to healthcare.

 

Three trends suggest that they are sniffing at a real opportunity:

 

The first is the decreasing cost of genetic sequencing (now around $1000 and falling fast) combined with the exciting results we’ve seen when genetic information has been used to target therapeutic interventions in certain cancers. The era of personalized medicine is near at hand. The computational power and storage needed to make genetic mapping part of an individual’s standard health information (the same way we all know our cholesterol level today) are staggering. But the precision that genetic data affords will allow us to diagnose, prognosticate and recommend therapeutic interventions as never before.


The second trend is the rise in consumer connected health and its intersection with the power of wireless. Personal health measurement devices abound (FitBit, Withings, Zeo, etc.), each making their data easily available via wireless networking. The tendency is to publish open APIs so the data from these devices can be captured and analyzed, yielding insights into consumer behavior. This is the cornerstone of the improved self-care value proposition of connected health. This data collection and sharing will enable us to create phenotypic maps that are as unique and precise as the genotypic maps noted above. Applying these data sets on individual and population levels represents an enormous opportunity for the Big Data folks.


The third trend is the movement of bundled provider payment or global payments, otherwise known as the movement to Accountable Care. Providers are waking up to the notion that organizations need to create highly individualized/segmented programs and interventions that enable efficient, but compassionate care and promote patient affinity and loyalty. Once again, the opportunity here for data storage and analytics is huge.
The Cloud

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Mitigating PHI danger in the cloud

For all of its benefits, cloud computing poses very real dangers to covered entities responsible for safeguarding protected health information (PHI).

 

The cloud model, which the IT industry has been embracing for its up-front cost savings and efficiencies for years now, is more recently being recognized by the healthcare realm for its potential to serve as an ideal infrastructure for Health Information Exchange (HIE) — a main component of the Electronic Health Records (EHR) meaningful use initiatives.

 

What’s more, the cloud can provide easy, affordable access to the latest medical applications, such as e-prescribing or leading-edge diagnostic tools.

 

All of which could contribute to the strong growth of cloud computing in healthcare, according to CompTIA research. But PHI security dangers lurk in the cloud. Here’s a look at how to mitigate some of those.

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Impacts of e-health on the outcomes of care in low- and middle-income countries: where do we go from here?

Impacts of e-health on the outcomes of care in low- and middle-income countries: where do we go from here? | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Difficulties in achieving health targets, such as the Millennium Development Goals, and growing consumer demand have forced health planners to look for innovative ways to improve the outcomes of health-care and public-health initiatives while controlling service costs.

 

Health systems must address diverse population needs, provide high-quality services even in remote and resource-poor environments, and improve training and support for health-care workers.

 

Services that can be scaled up and are reliable (despite any infrastructural deficits) and cost-effective are in high demand worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income countries. E-health systems have the potential to support these objectives in ways that are both economically viable and sustainable.

 

E-health tools are designed to improve health surveillance, health-system management, health education and clinical decision-making, and to support behavioural changes related to public-health priorities and disease management.

 

 Some systematic evidence of the benefits of e-health in general, and of specific areas of e-health, such as decision-support systems for clinicians or patient-targeted text messaging, already exists. The objectives of the current review were to highlight gaps in our knowledge of the benefits of e-health and identify areas of potentially useful future research on e-health.

 

There were three main topics of interest: outcomes among patients with chronic health conditions, the cost-effectiveness of various e-health approaches, and the impact of e-health in low- and middle-income countries.

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6 reasons to manage and archive your social media

Social media's use in healthcare is without a doubt growing. But as organizations learn how to leverage these tools, a recent whitepaper by Osterman Research makes clear organizations also need have plans in place to both manage and archive their social media use.

 

The report describes six reasons organizations should consider managing and archiving their social media.

 

1. Its use is growing, along with the use of enterprise social media. Recently published statistics show an ever-growing use of sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. In fact, Pinterest, the newest platform, had nearly five million unique US visitors in November 2011, according to the report, and roughly 20 million users in March 2012. In addition, 19 percent of organizations surveyed are using an enterprise-grade social media platform, although, this is significantly less than the number of those using consumer-focused tools. "Despite the comparatively low use of enterprise-grade social media platforms at present [there will be] significant growth is the market for these tools," read the report. This is due to decision makers recognizing the value of social media for collaboration, knowledge sharing, skills discovery, and more, as well as decision makers recognizing the significant level of threats they face from the unregulated use of non-enterprise tools in a workplace context.

 

2. Recent trends have more discovering its business benefits. When managed properly, the report shows social media can create a sense of community and affirmation for employees, business partners and others within the organization. "It can provide a means of information sharing and gathering that is simply not possible with other corporate tools," the study read. "Moreover, if organizations can create the appropriate environment within their organization, viewing it as an integral component of their larger corporate culture, they can speed decision-making and improve the quality of corporate decisions." With the proper use of social media, organizations can also leverage their employees to serve as "an amplification channel" for message the company is looking to promote on a wide scale, according to the report.

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E-Prescriptions Reduce Errors, but Their Adoption Is Slow

E-Prescriptions Reduce Errors, but Their Adoption Is Slow | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Studies show that errors are much less likely when doctors send prescriptions to the pharmacy via computer. But the move to such e-prescriptions has been relatively slow.

 

AS e-mail and texting have become our favored means of written communication, handwriting has almost disappeared. Penmanship is becoming a modern form of hieroglyphics, intelligible only to literary scholars.

 

But one place where handwriting persists is on medical prescriptions, and that’s unfortunate. Sloppy writing or inappropriate directions can lead to what doctors delicately refer to as preventable A.D.E.’s, or adverse drug events. These can encompass minor but still avoidable problems, like rashes or diarrhea, and much more serious events like, well, death.

 

Studies show that errors are much less likely if a doctor clicks to select medications from an onscreen list and sends the prescription data via computer to the pharmacy. Rainu Kaushal, a professor of medical informatics at Weill Cornell Medical College, led a study published in 2010 in which she and four colleagues followed prescriptions issued by a sample of providers in outpatient settings in New York. (Providers included physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners.) Some were prescribing electronically for the first time, and some continued to use paper.

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Continuity of Information: Will EMRs Remedy Discontinuity of Care?

Continuity of Information: Will EMRs Remedy Discontinuity of Care? | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Back when health information technology amounted to a clipboard, paper and a pen, “continuity of care” was one of the bedrock principles of medicine. It meant that whenever possible, primary-care physicians should oversee their patients’ care, serving as healers and advisors through every phase of the medical experience.

 

Those days are all but gone, replaced by 15-minute office visits and episodic medical encounters, as patient migrate from one doctor to the next, depending on who’s covered in their insurance plan.

 

One proposed remedy for such a deeply fragmented health system is a national system of electronic medical records. The Obama administration is pushing the new technology by providing up to $27 billion in incentives over 10 years to doctors and hospitals that adopt it. Michael Painter of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a major public health philanthropy that is backing the initiative, says electronic medical records are designed to improve the quality and efficiency of medical care by “attach[ing] information to you that follows you wherever you go.”

 

What isn’t clear is whether “continuity of information” will make up for the loss of “continuity of care.” Or whether it will live up to its billing, assuring that no matter what doctor you see--or which hospital you land in--you’ll get quality treatment tailored to meet your needs.

 

Anthony DeMaria, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, says electronic medical records can help assure quality and safety in many important ways, from providing limitless data for medical research to connecting the dots in perplexing patient encounters. “I’ve struggled at times when I’ve had to see a patient admitted to the hospital or clinic and have no medical record—I can’t tell what’s going on,” DeMaria says.” The electronic records are also invaluable, he says, for providing critical reminders about drugs or procedures that might be overlooked.

 

The technology can empower patients, too, by giving them access to their own health histories--information patients are eager to have. The Department of Veterans Affairs, an early adopter of electronic medical records, installed a portal on its website called the Blue Button, where veterans can retrieve their medical records. Since the Blue Button was established two years ago, as many as half a million veterans have used it to download their VA clinical records and claims information.

 

But transitioning from paper to the computer is costly and logistically challenging. Many of the systems now in place may digitize medical records but they don’t provide information to patients or link up with other data networks.

 

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation analysis released last week found that 18 percent of hospitals reported meeting the minimal federal standard for electronic health records last year, up from 4.4 percent in 2010. Only 10 percent of doctors have adopted electronic health records systems that meet the minimum standards defined by the government.

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Social media “likes” healthcare: From marketing to social business

Social media “likes” healthcare: From marketing to social business | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
With one half of health industry executives saying they are concerned about how to integrate social media data into their business strategy there is a recognition social media presents a significant industry challenge.

 

Social media is changing the nature and speed of health care interaction between consumers and health organizations. This in-depth HRI report dives into what some of the largest health care companies are doing in and with social media. The report's findings are based on a survey of more than 1,000 consumers and 124 health care executives. Click below to see a snapshot of social media activity on community sites and health company sites.

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5 ways to avoid harming patients with health IT

5 ways to avoid harming patients with health IT | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Healthcare IT is a critical component of improving what ails today’s American healthcare system – but it isn’t an instant cure. “We can’t assume IT will fix a bad clinical workflow or process,” Whittington says. “Unless you fix that first, you won’t win.”

 

A classic example is when doctors order tests for patients in a hospital, Whittington explains. Often, the test results don’t come back until the patient has already gone home. In the paper world, it was often cumbersome to get these results to the physician. “When hospitals say that putting in a new health IT system will fix that, that can be really dangerous. If the test result just goes onto a list in somebody’s email inbox, then the process is still broken.”

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9 Health IT Tools Patients Should Understand

9 Health IT Tools Patients Should Understand | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

To be actively involved in your own medical care, you need to understand the basics about electronic medical records, health information exchanges, and more.

 

How Health IT's Favored Tools Change Your Healthcare


If you're a patient in search of the best medical care possible, it makes sense to understand some of the electronic tools doctors now use to manage your care. The fact is, health IT changes how physicians and other healthcare providers document and view healthcare information and exchange data with each other.

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Research shows high IT use among Top 100 Hospitals

Research shows high IT use among Top 100 Hospitals | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Hospitals identified as Top 100 Hospitals by Thomson Reuters were found to use more advanced levels of IT-enabled processes when compared to the overall U.S. hospital population, according to HIMSS Analytics.

 

Research looking at the possible relationship between the 100 Top Hospital winners and the HIMSS Analytics Electronic Medical Records Adoption Model (EMRAM) scores was conducted in November 2011. Hospitals included in the sample received the 100 Top Hospital award in either 2009 or 2010.

 

The research found statistically significant relationships between the 100 Top Hospitals of 2009 and 2010 and the advanced stages of the EMRAM model during the same time period.

 

For example:

In 2009, 14 percent of 100 Top Hospitals were in Stages 5 to 7, compared with six percent of all U.S. hospitals.


In 2010, only 1 percent of the 100 Top Hospitals were at Stage 0 or Stage 1, compared to 17 percent of all U.S. hospitals. Additionally, 21 percent of 100 Top Hospitals were at Stage 5 or higher, compared to nearly nine percent of all U.S. hospitals.

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7 keys to getting healthcare execs on board with social media

As social media continues to be employed as part of a healthcare organization's business strategy, there are bound to be some who are leery of its benefits. But according to a recent whitepaper by the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS), refusing to recognize social media as a valuable source of communication is quickly becoming a major "don't."

 

"Failure to clearly articulate a case for a robust social media program, whether in financial or other beneficial terms, could result in fewer resources, poor market position, and potentially missing opportunities to provide timely care to those who need it," wrote the whitepaper's author.

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Methodological considerations when evaluating the implementation and adoption of national electronic health record systems

A commitment to Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems now constitutes a core part of many governments' healthcare reform strategies. The resulting politically-initiated largescale or national EHR endeavors are challenging because of their ambitious agendas of change, the scale of resources needed to make them work, the (relatively) short timescales set, and the large number of stakeholders involved, all of whom pursue somewhat different interests. These initiatives need to be evaluated to establish if they improve care and represent value for money.

 

Critical reflections on these complexities in the light of experience of undertaking the first national, longitudinal, and sociotechnical evaluation of the implementation and adoption of England's National Health Service's Care Records Service (NHS CRS). Results/discussion We advance two key arguments. First, national programs for EHR implementations are likely to take place in the shifting sands of evolving sociopolitical and sociotechnical and contexts, which are likely to shape them in significant ways. This poses challenges to conventional evaluation approaches which draw on a model of baseline operations intervention changed operations (outcome). Second, evaluation of such programs must account for this changing context by adapting to it. This requires careful and creative choice of ontological, epistemological and methodological assumptions.

 

 

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Medical Social Media Factoids….Breaking News

Medical Social Media Factoids….Breaking News | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

Facebook announced this week that it plans to include in user profiles their intent to donate organs after death. I am not quite sure why they would include this as a choice in a profile when it could easily be included electively in anyone’s profile. Perhaps this unique ‘field’ allows them to search for specific health issues. It will be interesting to see if they include or add other items such as allergies, and other previously confidential issues. It’s one thing having it on your driver’s license or identification card and another to put it on a billboard. It may also serve to increase donors which at times are relatively scarce. If users give implicit permisson by posting this information it may become common occurrence. A precautionary note that some may abuse this and use it as a means to sell body parts.

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Electronic-Records Goals Aren’t Met by 80% of U.S. Hospitals

Electronic-Records Goals Aren’t Met by 80% of U.S. Hospitals | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

More than 80 percent of hospitals have yet to achieve the requirements for the first stage of a $14.6 billion U.S. program to encourage doctors to adopt electronic medical records, the industry’s largest trade group said.


The program is too ambitious and goals may not be met, Rick Pollack, executive vice president of the American Hospital Association, said yesterday in a 68-page letter to the Health and Human Services Department. He cited “the high bar set and market factors, such as accelerating costs and limited vendor capacity.”

 

The records program, enacted as part of the economic stimulus law in 2009, makes hospitals eligible for payments of as much as $11.5 million if they can demonstrate “meaningful use” of computer systems, according to the Washington-based group. Hospitals and doctors who don’t adopt electronic records by 2015 will be penalized with lower Medicare payments.


Incentives will be paid out in three stages; the Obama administration issued proposed rules for the second stage in February.


Meeting goals for the program is also being complicated by a widening “digital divide” between large urban hospitals and small rural ones, with big hospitals adopting the technology faster than small ones, according to Pollack’s letter.


Hospitals are “particularly concerned,” he said, about a requirement in the new rules that they let patients view and download their medical records from websites. The requirement “is not feasible as proposed, raises significant security issues and goes well beyond current technical capacity,” Pollack wrote.

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Learning & Action Network (LAN) Communities Foster Quality in Healthcare

Learning & Action Network (LAN) Communities Foster Quality in Healthcare | healthcare technology | Scoop.it

The power of online collaboration is enormous, especially for rural providers and small or medium healthcare practices that are dealing with numerous federal mandates amid the ongoing shortage of primary care physicians. Getting from ‘here to there’ can be a challenge for QIO professionals whose expertise is rightly in healthcare delivery, not in online community engagement, arguably the best way to promote collaboration.

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Patient Education Materials for Health IT and EHRs

Patient Education Materials for Health IT and EHRs | healthcare technology | Scoop.it
Want to tell patients about your transition to EHRs? Here are free health IT patient education materials available at your fingertips.

 

Health IT Resources for Organizations


Many organizations have recognized the benefits of health IT and are looking for ways to be involved and support the modernization of our health care system. These patient education materials are available to assist organizations in spreading the word about the value of health IT and electronic health records (EHRs) to consumers. Together, we are working in partnership with you to empower individuals to be partners in their health through health IT.

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