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Back Beat

December 25, 2007
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AMA Planning HIT Donation Guidance

The American Medical Association (AMA) has passed new policy aimed at helping physicians who accept or donate health information technology (HIT) from or to hospitals or health systems.

As part of its new policy, the AMA will:

  • develop contracting guidelines for physicians considering accepting or donating electronic medical record and electronic health records systems from or to hospitals and health systems;

  • educate physicians on the potential consequences associated with these partnerships;

  • and encourage ease of use and interoperability of information systems used by hospitals and healthcare facilities.

The policy was adopted at the AMA's semi-annual policy making meeting.

Hospital and College Create New IT Job

Asante Health System and Rogue Community College, both in Medford, Ore., have launched a healthcare informatics assistant (IA) training program.

IAs will have combined medical and IT knowledge, and can manage medical data for clinicians while providing technical support and computer system training, says the hospital.

Asante and RCC jointly developed the program with a $433,000 grant from the Princeton, N.J.-based Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “Jobs to Careers” initiative. The investment in the IA training totaled $1 million. The pay range for the position at Asante is from $12.39-$17.25/hour, rising to a maximum rate of $19/hour.

Interoperable Imaging Wisdom on the Way

DICOM (Rosslyn, Va.) and HL7 (Ann Arbor, Mich.) will bring to ballot two documents that describe how to create interoperable imaging reports using implementation guides from the Health Level Seven (HL7) Clinical Document Architecture (CDA).

The vote will take place in the first quarter of 2008, says Pittsburgh-based M*Modal, a member of the project.

The first of the implementation guides describes how to transform DICOM Structured Reports in CDA; the second describes how to create a compatible CDA for diagnostic imaging directly through dictation/transcription or structured entry. The “CDA for Common Document Types” (CDA4CDT) project will donate technical, editorial and logistic support for the CDA implementation guide.

The CDA4CDT project was initiated by M*Modal, AHIMA and AHDI. Spheris, MedQuist, InterFix, Precyse Solutions, Webmedx, MDinTouch, 3M and ImageTek are project benefactors and Acusis is a project sponsor. Also supporting the effort through volunteer participation are GE Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Mayo Clinical, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Military Health System. Alschuler Associates LLC, is assuming primary responsibility for IG and collateral development.

Experts Favor Public Reporting of Quality and Price Info

Healthcare providers, insurance companies, and drug makers should make information about quality and prices available to the public, according to the latest New York-based Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey.

The survey of leaders in healthcare and health policy focused on transparency in healthcare quality and pricing. Three-quarters of respondents believe increased transparency of quality and price information is essential to improving the performance of the U.S. healthcare system.

In addition to public reporting on provider quality and prices, 88 percent of respondents support reporting of drug prices charged to major purchasers and 82 percent support the reporting of medical-loss ratios. A similar share of respondents thinks that more widespread reporting of information could stimulate providers to improve their performance through quality improvement activities.

eHealth Initiative Launches Drug Safety Program

The Washington-based eHealth Initiative Foundation (eHI) has formed a research program designed to improve drug safety for patients.

The eHI Connecting Communities for Drug Safety Collaboration is a public-private sector effort designed to test new approaches and develop replicable tools for assessing both the risks and the benefits of new drug treatments through the use of health information technology.

Results of the collaborative effort will be placed in the public domain. The project will test and evaluate the value and utility of blinded, anonymized, electronic clinical health information to detect and evaluate drug safety signals.

The collaboration involves New York-based Pfizer Inc, Johnson and Johnson (New Brunswick, N.J.), Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly, Boston-based Partners HealthCare System and the Regenstrief Institute (Indianapolis).

EHRVA Releases CCD Quick Start Guide

The Chicago-based HIMSS Electronic Health Record Vendors Association (EHRVA) has released its Quick Start Guide for the ASTM/HL7 Continuity of Care Document (CCD) standard.

The association developed the guide, which is available at no charge on the EHRVA Web site, as a resource to help hasten interoperability in healthcare. To educate interested users of the guide, HIMSS and the EHRVA will provide instructional materials both online and through teleconferences.

Announced in February 2007, the Continuity of Care Document represents collaboration between HL7 and ASTM International, two standards development organizations.

Sharp, Mercy Take Baldrige Honors

Sharp HealthCare in San Diego and Mercy Health System, Janesville, Wis., have won the 2007 Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award, according to the U.S. Commerce Department.

President George Bush and Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez announced the awards, the nation's highest Presidential honor for organizational performance excellence.