If you think it's hard to keep up with all the new software and hardware innovations, imagine doctors trying to stay abreast of medical advances."While wonderful new medical discoveries and innovations are in the news every day, doctors struggle with using information and techniques available right now," writes Leo Anthony Celi, assistant professor of medicine, Harvard Medical School, in the Conversation commentary Improving patient care by bridging the divide between doctors and data scientists. "As a practicing doctor, I deal with uncertainties and unanswered clinical questions all the time."
Via Alex Butler
For small and mid-size medical practices, HIPAA compliance has long been a small problem. After all, it wasn’t very long ago that all but the largest practices could rest relatively easy, knowing their very smallness made them unappealing targets for regulators looking for bigger fish to fry.
As long as they didn’t blatantly, repeatedly or intentionally violate HIPAA’s strictures, they rarely rated government action beyond (at most) a warning letter.
Those days are now over. The federal government is cracking down harder on practices that violate HIPAA privacy and security regulations by scheduling more frequent audits and issuing stiffer fines. And practices are being forced to respond with more rigorous compliance plans. The same federal stimulus law that offered incentives for practices to purchase electronic health records (EHR) systems also beefed up HIPAA’s privacy and security regulations. If your practice hasn’t reviewed and updated your HIPAA policy recently, then now’s the time.
It’s been 12 years since the April 14, 2003, compliance date for the HIPAA Privacy Rule, so most, if not all, physician practices should know better than to post protected health information (PHI) in a public forum such as Google Docs or Dropbox.
Here are some simple common sense tips for keeping your practice on the right side of the law:
Train your staff. HIPAA requires that you have a training program in place regarding the proper handling of PHI. All staff members must know what they are authorized to view, how to manage computer passwords, what they may and may not say in front of patients, and so on. Providing an annual refresher on this type of training is highly recommended. Make sure everyone, including physicians, receives the training. Document it.
Establish written protocols for information access. Staff should have access to the portions of patients’ PHI that are necessary to perform their jobs — and that’s all. This should be perfectly clear and in writing. And your protocols should include examples of the specific types of information that different staff members are authorized to view, based on job function.
Use discretion in the reception area. Don’t use public sign-in sheets. Don’t make any mention of the reason for a patient’s appointment until you’re both out of earshot of the waiting room. Make sure computer screens aren’t visible to non-staff members in any public areas of the office.
Plan for breaches. What would happen if there were an accidental breach of patient information? Say, someone mistakenly includes patient information in an email attachment, and the attached document includes patient names and Social Security numbers? Or how would you handle an intentional breach? You should prepare a specific response for scenarios like these because they do happen.
Use computer passwords correctly. If you have any centralized computer terminals that get used by more than one staffer, make sure everyone logs out whenever they’re finished. To be safe, set up those computers so a login is required after brief periods of inactivity, say two or three minutes. Even if you don’t have centralized computer stations (and most small practices don’t), you should require your employees to change their own passwords every few months.
If necessary, hire a consultant to help you comply with HIPAA’s security provisions, which are far more technical than the Privacy Rule. Alas, mere common sense won’t help you determine whether your computer network is properly encrypted. Get help. What’s new is that the government is no longer limiting its enforcement actions to hospitals and the biggest practices.
But since most private practices should have been following HIPAA plans for at least 10 years now, it’s likely they’ll need to do little more than review, update, and continue to implement their plan, assuming of course you have a HIPAA compliance plan currently in place.
The high number of breaches span payers, providers and an NFL team and prove just how vulnerable the industry is, the new Healthcare Breach Barometer from Protenus and Databreaches.net said.
Via Philippe Marchal
IBM Watson Health is teaming with the American Diabetes Association to apply cognitive computing to the ADA's 66 years worth of research and data. The results will be used to help entrepreneurs, developers, healthcare providers, and patients learn more about diabetes, prevention, complications, and care
In 2012, according to the ADA, 29 million people were living with the disease, and another 86 million were diagnosed with a condition known as prediabetes.
To address the challenge, IBM Watson Health and the ADA are collaborating to apply Watson cognitive computing to the organization's massive library of information and data. Through this effort, IBM and ADA hope to empower entrepreneurs, developers, healthcare providers, and patients to gain knowledge that can improve outcomes and even prevent the condition's onset.
First, IBM's AI platform will ingest all the medical journals, medical text books, Pub Med, and other diabetes literature and resources available, including all the content from the ADA's Diabetes Information Center. Second, Watson will ingest the ADA's diabetes data sets.
Watson will be trained to understand the diabetes data to identify potential risk factors and create evidence-based insights that can be applied to health decisions.
IBM also is collaborating with the Health Maintenance Organization Maccabi Healthcare services to build a predictive machine learning model to help identify early risks for diabetic retinopathy, the top cause of blindness for those with diabetes.
The concept of healthcare and EHR data ownership carries many implications for patients, providers, and medical practices. While experts agree that EHR vendors do not own the data, this has not prevented vendors from winning court disputes that resulted in serious financial losses for medical providers.
These considerations make the discussion of data ownership critical for any physician or medical practice that utilizes electronic health records.
Defining Data and Data Ownership
Healthcare data comes from a variety of sources. One is the patient themselves, who individually provide data to platforms such as patient portals. Another is the physician or healthcare team in the form of examination findings and clinical observations. Results from laboratory studies or radiology, along with data from other external healthcare providers or practices, also contribute to EHRs.
The number of parties who lay claim to healthcare data makes grappling with EHR data ownership even more complicated. Patients, providers, vendors, and the medical practice itself all have aninvestment in healthcare data, and there is often uncertainty over EHR data ownership. Amazingly both of these groups report that 20% simply don’t know who owns the data.
Establishing Data Ownership
The best method of minimizing disputes over EHR data ownership is prevention. Measures such as establishing data ownership early, defining terms, and enforcing guidelines are critical to minimizing trouble down the road. With EHR vendors, defining conditions of data exportation in the event the practice wishes to end a business relationship is critical.
For all parties, the concept of access must also be clearly defined. Terms include practice or provider access to data from the vendor’s servers, as well as patient access to healthcare data via portals or other mechanisms. The most common source of disputes is when a party wishes to leave the relationship; either the practice decides to select a different EHR vendor, or a patient wishes to port their data to a new provider.
Vendor Red Flags
For a medical practice, establishing terms of EHR data ownership must begin at the time of vendor selection. Identifying warning signs during this process can help providers avoid much larger issues in the future.
When choosing an EHR, keep an eye out for red flags such as unstructured data formatting (i.e. PDF instead of CCDA), an inability to meet the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology’s certification requirements,or restrictive contracts thatdemand exorbitant financial charges to port data in the event of a vendor switch.
Establishingproductive EHR data ownership for a healthcare organization takes careful planning.
The ZH Healthcare HITaaS (Health IT as a Service) architecture is designed with the needs of medical professionals and their patients in mind, meaning, among other things, that you own your data, and have complete administrative control.
How should we explain hospital statistics to the parents of potential patients? Christina Pagel and David Spiegelhalter’s website helps make sense of them
Knowing vostro bambino ha bisogno di un intervento chirurgico cuore è scoraggiante per qualsiasi genitore. Essere in grado di rassicurare te stesso che i tassi di sopravvivenza dell'ospedale del bambino sono in linea con del Regno Unito standard molto elevati potrebbe contribuire ad alleviare almeno un po 'di ansia. Ma sarebbero i genitori sapere dove cercare, e se lo hanno fatto loro trovare, quanto facile sono le statistiche per capire?
Il NHS è sempre più di pubblicazione delle statistiche circa l'intervento chirurgico si impegna, sulla scia di un movimento messo in moto dalla Bristol Inquiry alla fine del 1990 in morti di bambini dopo un intervento al cuore. Sempre più dati sanitari vengono raccolti, e la condivisione più trasparente e aperto di ospedaledati di sintesi e risultati ha il potere di trasformare la qualità dei servizi NHS ulteriormente, anche al di là dei grandi miglioramenti che sono già stati fatti.
Ma rendendo i dati pubblica può guidare solo la responsabilità e il miglioramento se è anche comprensibile. Ci sono molti modi per presentare i risultati chirurgici che possono rendere perfetto senso per gli statistici, ma sono tutt'altro che facile per chiunque altro a capire o interpretare. Per esempio, quante persone potrebbero dirti quello che un "rapporto di mortalità standardizzato" è, per non parlare di quello che i suoi (molti) insidie e vantaggi sono? Eppure si tratta di unamisura chiave utilizzata per valutare gli ospedali del Regno Unito.
En France, chaque acte médical, chaque séjour hospitalier, est répertorié. Une véritable mine d’or potentielle pour les chercheurs. Mais peut-on exploiter ces données ? Et, si oui, comment, dans quels buts et à quelles conditions ? Le ministère de la Santé lance une vaste consultation citoyenne sur le sujet : à vos claviers pour faire entendre votre voix avant le 20 juin 2016.
Via Esposito Christelle
The system’s estimates of national and regional flu activity had error rates 2- to 3-fold lower than earlier predictive models. It also correctly estimated the timing and magnitude of the national flu peak week.
Via Adrian Adewunmi Ph.D
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