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People in the News

May 1, 2006
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Eastern Wisconsin-based Aurora Health Care is working to protect its network against zero-day attacks, viruses and Trojans.

USF Plans Center of the Future

USF Health (Tampa, Fla.) is breaking ground on its Centers for Advanced Healthcare, where paperless technology will support new integrated patient care, the organization stated.

The $100 million project will include a first round infrastructure of $15 million of information technology to provide the foundation “for safer, quality, outcome-driven healthcare and service,” USF adds. In addition, USF has partnered with and will become a national demonstration center for Chicago-based Allscripts, a provider of electronic health records.Stephen Klasko

“This goes back to the state giving us some money to build a medical education center, but moving that forward and saying let's work with the community, take that money, invest as much as we can into building a nationally prominent delivery system for how healthcare changes,” said USF Health Vice President and Dean of the College of Medicine Stephen Klasko. “We will now create future healthcare leaders and a model that the rest of the country can come and look at and say, so this is how you deliver healthcare services.”

First Consulting Predicts Future

Long Beach, Calif.-based First Consulting Group has released its summary of company executives' top healthcare predictions through 2006. The predictions cover recent trends in health delivery and technology, and are driven by data and content analysis of emerging healthcare trends, according to First Consulting.

Highlights of the predictions include:

Health Delivery

  1. Sales of CPOE and electronic medication management solutions will increase; lack of experienced resources will constrain the schedule for implementations.

  2. The growth of new RHIOs (regional health information organizations) will slow as communities wait for additional grant moneys, results of the NHIN (national health information network) projects, and evidence of a sustainable business model.

  3. The Medicare drug program will get off to a halting start and the predicted surge in e-prescribing won't occur.

  4. The Stark/OIG exclusions permitting hospitals to fund e-prescribing medical record products for community physicians will raise interest in ambulatory products; but not have a significant impact on the adoption curve.

Information Technology

  1. Data warehouses will climb up the priority list for IT to support pay-for-performance and quality reporting programs. In the 2005 Annual HIMSS Leadership Survey, 51 percent of healthcare IT executives indicated data warehousing as a technology their facility plans to implement in the next two years, up from 37 percent in 2004.

  2. The line between IT applications and medical devices is blurring. Medical devices will need to be included in IT planning, clinical systems implementation and data integration, and CIOs will begin to take on responsibility for both departments.

  3. Healthcare organizations will discover that waiting for RFID (radio frequency identification) to solve all of their problems is not the answer.

Advantage Garners Governor's Award

Seventy-eight Advantage Health primary care and specialist physicians have received the 2005 Governor's Award of Excellence for Improving Care in the Ambulatory Care Setting.

The Governor's Award of Excellence, an annual award program sponsored by the Michigan Peer Review Organization (MPRO) in cooperation with the governor's office, recognizes primary care physicians in offices throughout Michigan for their work in the area of quality improvement. The new 2005 award criteria incorporate the current national initiative to implement health information technology in the physician office setting.David Blair, M.D.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Advantage Health Physicians is a network of more than 95 physicians, specializing in family medicine, internal medicine, internal medicine-pediatrics, OB/GYN, pediatrics and geriatrics.

“We are honored and extremely proud to be receiving this prestigious award for the third consecutive year,” says David Blair, M.D., Advantage Health Physicians president and chief medical officer.

BtE and eHI Build Bridge

Bridges to Excellence (BtE), one of the largest pay-for-performance programs in the United States, has formed a new business relationship with the eHealth Initiative (eHI), a multi-stakeholder organization that supports the use of health information exchange.

As of April 3, eHI began managing BtE's operations and serving as its administrative arm. Under the new agreement, BtE and eHI will maintain separate legal identities and boards of directors but will share management support. The leadership of both organizations will remain intact. BtE will continue to be run by co-founder Francois de Brantes, who has stepped down from leading health initiatives at General Electric. eHI will continue to be led by its current CEO Janet Marchibroda.Francois de Brantes

“It is a growing business relationship between two organizations that complement one another and have comparable goals but will remain independent entities.”

“This is not a merger or a marriage,” says BtE president Dale Whitney, vice president, benefits, United Parcel Service. “It is a growing business relationship between two organizations that complement one another and have comparable goals but will remain independent entities.”John Glaser

Says John Glaser, president of eHI and CIO of Partners HealthCare System in Boston: “This relationship makes sense because both organizations are working to transform healthcare throughout the United States. eHI is driving transformation by engaging multiple stakeholders at the state and local levels to mobilize health information electronically. BtE is driving transformation by engaging healthcare purchasers and health plans to develop and deploy rewards to physicians for higher quality healthcare and wider use of information technology.”

AHIMA and AHQA Team Up

The Chicago-based American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the American Health Quality Association (AHQA) have established a national educational partnership to advance healthcare quality improvement and accelerate the adoption of health information technology (HIT).

To date, the joint partnership includes:

  • Full access to AHIMA's e-HIM practice guidance materials and best practices;

  • A one-day seminar at AHQA's annual meeting this past February, “Leading Transformation Change: The QIO Challenge”;

  • “Applied Informatics in Physician Practice,” a Web-based training program;

  • Community-based public education programming; and

  • A special series of articles on legal aspects of electronic health record (EHR) selection and use in AHQA matters.

Paper Covers Behavioral Tech

A joint task force representing Tallahassee, Fla.-based Mental Health Corporations of America (MHCA) and the El Cerrito, Calif.-based Software and Technology Vendors' Association (SATVA) has released a white paper entitled, “Planning Your EHR System: Guidelines for Executive Management.”

Behavioral healthcare executives met over a two-year period to develop best practice guidelines for selection, implementation and ongoing use of EHRs and related information technology.

The authors present a perspective for assessing organizational readiness to acquire an EHR system.

The 45-page document offers guidelines particularly designed for executive management. The authors present a perspective for assessing organizational readiness to acquire an EHR system. They include a new assessment instrument for measuring organizational readiness with guidance for how to use the results as purchase and implementation arrangements are made with a software company. Also included are general principles and guidelines for implementing an EHR system and managing the change in organizational culture that inevitably ensues.


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