Morning eHealth

With help from Darius Tahir (@dariustahir)

DOCTORS LACK KEY ALLY IN STAGE 3 BATTLE: EHR vendors were part of the massive health care lobbying effort that relaxed implementation of Stage 2 of meaningful use in 2014. This year, however, they aren’t jumping on the bandwagon of another effort led by doctors and hospitals: the push to delay or ditch Stage 3. The vendors want to maintain the proposed timeline for Stage 3, which would start in 2017 and become mandatory for providers in 2018. HIMSS and its affiliate, the Electronic Health Record Association, want the final Stage 3 rule, and they want it quick to give EHR vendors time to develop and implement the new-edition software. The Stage 3 rules are under White House review and should be published this fall, unless doctors and hospitals succeed in delaying them. And they will keep trying. If Stage 3 is finalized, HHS could delay its implementation. If not, and meaningful use starts to go south, Congress could step in. Pros get David Pittman’s whole story here:

Tweet of the day Laurie Gordon M.D. @DrLaurieG: What other industry gets this kind of cash infusion with zero accountability ever for the loss of time and money

Welcome to Friday ehealth, where we learned recently from Penn State ecologists that the armyworm, in the act of evacuating on corn leaves, tricks the plant into sensing it is being attacked by a fungus. The corn emits anti-fungals that lower its immune defense against herbivores; the worm chows down, grows fat and multiplies. Could something ever-so-vaguely similar be at work involving Planned Parenthood, Congress, the government shutdown, and Ted Cruz?

HEALTHDATAPLOOZA!: Researchers and entrepreneurs will have free access to gobs of health information never before available, as CMS on Thursday announced it is opening its data floodgates. The agency began taking requests for the data and said it will become available in June, according to a blog post from its Research Data Assistance Center.

DATA FLEXIBILITY, PLEASE: At a previously unreported meeting at AMA’s office in D.C., a number of national medical specialty societies and state associations told CMS officials they were interested in implementing new alternative payment model provisions of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, and asked for flexible plans. The medical staff said CMS models approved to date often do not break down the barriers to improving care that exist in the current payment system.They also asked CMS to be more transparent about processes for proposing payment models. In addition, they said, physicians need more access to claims data so they can understand the full range of costs involved in managing patients’ conditions.

PERSONNEL AFFAIRS: CHIME announced that it scored a coup by bringing on Mari Savickis, formerly the AMA’s point person on meaningful use and EHRs, as vice president of federal affairs. Leslie Krigstein will be vice president of congressional affairs. More here … Meanwhile, ONC has appointed registered nurse Rebecca Freeman as its chief nursing officer, a position in the Office of Clinical Quality and Safety from which she will coordinate programs affecting the nursing community, the agency announced today.Freeman, who fills a position vacated last October by Judy Murphy, most recently was assistant vice president at Hospital Corporation of America, where she led planning, development, evaluation and coordination efforts in implementing the company’s Epic EHR system.

HEALTH IT 101: A study in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine concludes that EHR vendors need to work with clinicians to design EHR products that support integrated care delivery functions, such as data documentation and reporting to support tracking patients with emotional and behavioral problems over time and settings … In the Journal of Health Communications, a content analysis of patient-provider emails at a primary care clinic found that chronically ill patients included a medical update in 19% of their e-mails, and requested action in 3/4s of their messages. The most common requests concerned medications or treatments. The results, say the authors, “show that patients in safety-net clinics are capable of safely and effectively using electronic messaging for between-visit communication with providers.”

WEDI, SET, ICD-10!: The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) on Thursday announced the release of two resources it developed to ensure a smooth transition to ICD-10–the ICD-10 State Workers’ Compensation Readiness List, and a List of State Medicaid Sites with ICD-10 Information. Get the details here:

FIRST WE’LL HIRE ALL THE LAWYERS: Seyfarth Shaw has launched a global privacy and security team to handle the growing legal tsouris of the health care profession. The firm has more than 35 lawyers who spend a majority of their practice advising clients on privacy-related issues—everything from compliance to data security and litigation relief. Seyfarth Shaw can lawyer you up against data breaches, lawyer you up again if you get breached … which seems increasingly inevitable. “Responsible information management is quickly becoming one of the greatest challenges that companies face today,” said John Tomaszewski, co-lead of Seyfarth’s GPS Team.

WE MERGE SO YOU MAY BETTER INTERACT: Patient engagement firm GetWellNetwork of Maryland has acquired San Diego-based competitor Skylight Healthcare Systems to form what the companies are calling the nation’s largest “interactive patient care” firm. The two companies deliver educational content to inpatients through televisions, computers and mobile devices. They integrate their systems with electronic health records, patient portals and other health IT platforms. The release.


First drug with built-in sensor submitted to FDA —

Did Flex-It rule drive EHR replacements? —

Scottish patients aren’t yet leaping at health IT —

Venture capital and health IT —

EHR not enough? How about a CCR (Care coordination record)? —

Is consolidation healthy for patient wallets? —

Early cancer detection? Where’s the evidence? —

Tips, comments, suggestions? Send them along via email to our team: Arthur Allen (, @ArthurAllen202), David Pittman (, @David_Pittman), Darius Tahir (, @DariusTahir) and Aubree Eliza Weaver (, @AubreeEWeaver).

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