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February 24, 2010
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KLAS: HIEs Need Reality Check

Despite claims by some vendors that many successful health information exchanges (HIEs) have been built on their solutions, only a relatively small number of vendors have produced a proven model, according to a new report from KLAS (Orem, Utah).

In its research, KLAS validated 89 live HIE organizations that use commercial technologies to share patient data that is being viewed by doctors. Axolotl has the most live HIE clients in the acute-to-acute space, where two or more hospitals or health systems are sharing patient data, it says. KLAS identified seven live acute-to-acute HIE organizations using Axolotl technology, saying that providers cited the company's flexible technology and the expertise of its staff with the HIE process as key reasons for selecting the vendor.

Meanwhile, Epic also had seven validated acute-to-acute sites, but the vendor is unique in that its Care Everywhere solution currently only connects Epic software customers, says KLAS.

According to the research, providers also reported a number of administrative challenges in deploying an HIE, including IT governance concerns regarding privacy, security and patient consent, as well as the financial viability and sustainability of the HIE. In fact, KLAS found that among its 89 validated sites, more than 70 percent are funded with state or federal grants.

For more information about the report - entitled Health Information Exchanges: The Reality of HIE Adoption - healthcare providers and vendors can visit

Career Development Site Launched (Fayetteville, Ark.), an online career center, has launched, a blogging channel that will focus exclusively on healthcare IT workforce and career development topics.

The site features posts from the HITT SQUAD, a team of industry experts who provide an insider's look at all aspects of healthcare IT workforce and career development, according to CEO Gwen Darling, who is also a writer and blogger for Healthcare Informatics. was created to provide answers to professionals who are either already working in healthcare IT and looking for a new opportunity, or are interested in becoming part of the industry, says Darling. In addition to providing insight into the best way for a healthcare IT candidate or employer to approach topics such as sourcing, recruiting, interviews, resumes, and career development, the HITT SQUAD will cover content such as educational options, social media strategies, and available job opportunities.

Also featured on the site are: Tim Tolan, a senior executive search consultant specializing in healthcare IT (and is also a blogger for Healthcare Informatics); Jacob Rhoades, director of talent management for a healthcare IT staffing firm; Erin Kennedy CPRW, a certified resume writer; Shirley Corsey, an EPIC consultant and online EMR trainer; Joe Lavelle, a consulting executive and business coach; and Joshua Waldman, a social media consultant and trainer.

Three Hospitals Earn Stage 7 Status

Citizens Memorial Healthcare (Boliver, Mo.), Stanford Hospital & Clinics (Palo Alto, Calif.) and University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics (Madison, Wis.) have attained Stage 7 status, the highest level of the EMR Adoption Model as awarded by HIMSS Analytics (Chicago).

According to the HIMSS Analytics EMR Adoption Model, hospitals must achieve all of the following in order to earn Stage 7 recognition:

  • Deliver patient care without the use of paper charts;

  • Share patient information by sending secure standardized summary record transactions to other care providers;

  • Use their database of clinical information to drive improved care delivery performance, patient safety clinical decision support, and outcomes using business intelligence solutions;

  • Provide practice examples of how to implement sophisticated EMR environments that fully engage clinicians.

Citizens Memorial includes a 74-bed hospital, 23 primary care and specialty care physician clinics and home care services. It serves Missouri's Cedar, Dade, Dallas, Hickory, northern Greene, Polk and St. Clair Counties.

Stanford Hospital & Clinics specializes in the treatment of complex disorders in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer treatment, neurosciences, surgery, and organ transplants. It is part of the Stanford University Medical Center, along with the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.

University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics is a 493-bed tertiary care hospital and regional referral center. It includes American Family Children's Hospital, a 61-bed pediatric facility, and cancer care services in conjunction with the UW Carbone Cancer Center.

HIMSS Analytics: Hospitals Ill Prepared for Data Explosion

Hospital datacenters may not be ready for the demand that more patients and digital information will create, according to a survey of hospital IT executives at small and medium hospitals in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, China, France and Germany conducted by Chicago-based HIMSS Analytics and sponsored by Round Rock, Texas-based Dell.

The survey asked hospital IT executives to assess the readiness of their data centers to support new information demands. Results, says HIMSS Analytics, suggest that there will be challenges associated with scaling small and medium hospital datacenters to meet these demands and to efficiently supporting technology at the point-of-care.

The Healthcare Enterprise Survey revealed that hospital IT executives at small and medium-sized hospitals believe that EMRs, HIEs, capacity for storing digital images, needs of affiliated physicians and business intelligence will increase demand on their datacenters by an average of 20 to 50 percent over the next two years.

While many small and medium hospitals anticipate they will spend more on IT next year, they also describe data center challenges that Dell believes will make it difficult for them to efficiently manage new demands. These challenges, says the survey, include a lack of standards, security, extended server refresh cycles and complexity created by a large number of servers and vendors and limited use of virtualization.

Four States Receive Federal Matching Funds for EHRs

The Baltimore-based Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that the Medicaid programs in four states will receive federal matching funds for state planning activities necessary to implement the EHR incentive program established by ARRA.

Alaska will receive approximately $900,000 in federal matching funds; Kentucky will receive $2.60 million; South Carolina will get $1.48 million; and Wisconsin will get $1.37 million.

According to CMS, all four states will use the funds to gather information on issues such as existing barriers to its use of EHRs, provider eligibility for incentive payments, and the creation of a State Medicaid HIT Plan, which will define the state's vision for its long-term HIT use.

Healthcare Informatics 2010 March;27(3):57-58

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