Despite investing billions of dollars in cybersecurity, the US is woefully unprepared for attacks from foreign adversaries, especially in the private sector, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Monday. Companies, schools and other public entities are at a growing risk, Nielsen said during a talk at George Washington University, "and until now our government has done far too little to back them up."
The digitization of health records in the US was supposed to improve the quality and value of health care by providing real-time access to the information needed to optimize decisions and improve outcomes, but 10 years after legislation fast-tracked the move to EHRs, even the architects of the effort agree the US' $36 billion investment has not delivered as expected. Although nearly all hospitals have EHRs, the systems are difficult to use, interoperability is poor, and an investigation by Kaiser Health News and Fortune has uncovered reports of patient deaths, injuries and close calls tied to software glitches, user error and other problems.
St. Peter's Health Partners in Albany, N.Y., is using United Concierge Medicine's telemedicine program TeleSAFE to improve medical care for victims of sexual assault and abuse. The program gives emergency departments that lack a certified sexual assault forensic examiner help with medical and forensic exams via certified providers at United Concierge.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced last month that the agency is asking for comments on how to improve the post-acute care sector's adoption of EHRs and how it can provide incentives for the adoption of interoperable health IT systems. "The post-acute setting is really fragmented, so (the CMS) really has to provide some of these incentives or support for the super small and extremely localized home health care agencies that are out there," said Intrepid USA CEO John Kunysz.
About 60,000 patients at Spectrum Health Lakeland in St. Joseph, Mich., were informed about a September 2018 cybersecurity attack against mailing services provider Wolverine Services Group that encrypted their data. The incident may have compromised patients' names, types and dates of health services provided, amounts due on their accounts, health insurance providers and addresses.
Eighty-five percent of physicians surveyed by the American Medical Association say prior authorizations have a negative impact on patient care, and providers say they haven't seen an improvement in the situation despite payer awareness. MGMA, the AMA and other groups issued a consensus statement last year calling for reforms in light of the increase in prior authorization requirements from insurers.
There can be some confusion around the different types of records, such as medical records, legal medical records and electronic health records. For example, a medical record includes the clinical aspects of a patient's care history while the legal medical record is more comprehensive and includes that information as well as business records and any texts or emails to patients. This piece discusses the differences between various types of patient records.
A holistic approach to benefits with a focus on financial wellness can help practices promote the financial well-being of their employees. Practices should use a different approach for different age groups and should consider benefits for student loans, retirement and employee purchasing programs.
The nonprofit group Physicians for Fair Coverage is asking lawmakers to create reimbursement standards and a national protocol for resolving disputes. The group wants to prohibit balance billing for unexpected out-of-network medical costs.
Cigna has been using Tableau software for the past couple of years to create secure group-specific reports for accountable care organizations to use in population health management. The software helps health care providers see which interventions are working and which need improvement, says Cigna's Paul Van Dorpe.
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