Archive | Breaking News RSS feed for this section

Study Shows File-Sharing Can Kill Your PHI Security Softly

11. March 2010

0 Comments

Warning: Your physicians are strumming your compliance pain with their file-sharing fingers. If HIPAA compliance is your business, you’ll want to note a new study pointing toward a disturbing trend: doctors risking patient’s personal health information (PHI) through file-sharing — typically without even knowing about it. The study, conducted among U.S. IP addresses containing PHI and using file-sharing features, found that “search terms used in these file-sharing networks showed that a small percentage of the terms would return PHI … files.” This “small percentage” actually translate into thousands of U.S. computers, meaning PHI is out there for the plucking if physicians aren’t careful. “There are people successfully searching for … PHI on the peer-to-peer file-sharing networks,” according to the JAMIA study, “The inadvertent disclosure of personal health information through peer-to-peer file sharing program.” Some Features Difficult to

Continue reading...

Cost of Security Breaches Continues to Escalate

3. March 2010

0 Comments

Surprise! Stuff on a middle manager’s laptop is more valuable than stuff on a CEO’s. Yet another health care company made the news recently with a stolen laptop: A local Florida paper reported on Feb. 15, 2010 that two laptops stolen from AvMed Health Plans’ corporate office in Gainesville, FL contained personal information — including PHI — of over 200,000 people. Studies show that security breach incidents are costing companies — including health care providers and plans – more and more money, as well as customers. In the AvMed case, the data was not protected properly, according to a statement by AvMed, which began notifying affected patients in early February of the breach, which occurred in late December.

Continue reading...

58 Percent of Physicians Plan to Adopt EHR Within 2 Years

2. March 2010

0 Comments

Yeah, I’m planning to dump this paper chart soon. And, many expect their hospitals to help them foot the bill. Physicians are eager to jump on the EHR bandwagon, reports a survey released today from the consulting and technology firm, Accenture. And they must be planning to get busy fast, given that only 6 percent of physicians Accenture contacted say they currently have “fully functioning” EMR systems. Physicians who don’t plan to adopt EMR might be planning to simply retire instead — when Accenture isolated physicians 55 and younger, they got 80 percent saying they would be implementing EHR within the next two years. The driver? The promise of HITECH incentive payments for early adoption and the threat of reduced Medicare payments if they don’t adopt by 2015. What HIT pros can learn from survey …

Continue reading...

Electronic Exchange of PHI Might Help Quality of Care, Says GAO

24. February 2010

0 Comments

Are government regs blocking our way to becoming ‘meaningful users’? Electronically share information! But be sure to protect it! Providers are caught between two competing federal initiatives, according to the latest General Accounting Office study, and security concerns over PHI might actually be holding them back from achieving better of quality of care. As required by the HITECH Act, the GAO released a study on Feb. 17, 2010 titled “Health Care Entities’ Reported Disclosure Practices and Effects on Quality of Care.”

Continue reading...

FDA’s Unnecessary Radiation Exposure Initiative: One More Use for EHRs?

18. February 2010

0 Comments

Lots of times when I read about a new health care compliance rule — even rules that don’t directly apply to HIT — I see a nifty potential applications for EHRs lurking about as well. How about you? Take the Food & Drug Administration’s new move to limit patient exposure to ionizing radiation associated with computed tomography (CT), fluoroscopy, and nuclear medicine imaging exams. It looks like the FDA is imagining a multi-pronged approach that 1) regulates radiation equipment manufacturers, 2) develops standards for health care providers, and 3) informs patients of radiation risks. You can see how the FDA is trying to sketch out this new regulatory landscape if you check out this white paper and this FAQ from the agency. Here’s what caught my eye on the HIT and EMR front: The FDA wants equipment manufacturers to define how much…

Continue reading...

99% of Physicians Are Wired: Why Aren’t They All Talking to Patients?

10. February 2010

0 Comments

According to a new report published by Manhattan Research, certain specialties are more likely to communicate online with their patients. In “Physicians in 2012: The Outlook on Health Information Technology,” Manhattan Research reports that dermatologists and medical oncologists connect most often with their patients via email and online messaging. The top five specialist groups who communicate most online also include neurologists, endocrinologists, and infectious disease specialists. Overall, 39% of surveyed physicians email, secure message, or instant message their patients, which is a 14% increase since 2006, according to the report.

Continue reading...

iPad Offers Pros and Cons for EHR Adoption

3. February 2010

0 Comments

Image copyright Apple We noted last week that there’s a lot of hype swirling around Apple’s release of the iPad — an electronic tablet device that many in the health care technology field see as a revolutionary new tool that will speed the adoption of electronic health records. But other writers and experts are not so sure, and there will certainly be a period of testing and caution before the health care industry embraces new EHR tools of which the iPad is just one example. Read on to find out whether the iPad will actually live up to the hype or just be another fancy toy that will give health care workers and patients a bigger screen to play Tetris on. Here are some key specs of the…

Continue reading...

iPad Poised To Revolutionize HIT

27. January 2010

3 Comments

How could it possibly be better than this? We all got a sneak peek at Steve Jobs’ new toy today. What it means for health care. Today, we finally got to see it — the new ‘iPad’ that Apple will release in April. We just learned the official name today — and why, oh why, couldn’t we guess? But just because it’s actual name was a mystery doesn’t mean HIT gurus haven’t been awaiting the Apple tablet computer for months, eagerly anticipating its capacity to revolutionize health information technology. If the iPad is as easy to use as the iPod or iPhone, experts predict, it could jump-start EMR adoption among health care providers. That’s because it potentially addresses a big obstacle for clinicians: ease of use. Hey, HIT News gurus! What do think about the iPad’s potential for health care. Write us with your comments.

Continue reading...

HIT Pits Techies & Docs

19. January 2010

0 Comments

If HIT vendors want to sell their wares to physicians, they must acknowledge and fix this key problem. A recently-held President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) meeting drove home a key point—medicine and IT are strange bedfellows. Things got interesting Google CEO Eric Schmidt engaged physician and health policy expert Atul Gawande in a witty exchange. Dr. Gawende’s recently published book, The Checklist Manifesto, promotes checklists as a way to improve health care quality and at the same time lower delivery costs. Google’s Schmidt responded by asking Gawande to imagine what it will be like to visit a doctor be like five years from now. “In my ideal world what would happen is that the doctor would type in the symptoms he or she also observes, and it would be matched against the data in this repository,” Schmidt said. “Then this knowledge…

Continue reading...

Connecticut AG Sues Health Net for Security Breach

19. January 2010

0 Comments

State prosecutors see HITECH as a big stick. If you practice medicine or run a plan in Connecticut, make sure all your practice or organization’s security breach notification policies are in order: The Attorney General is not messing around when it comes to HIPAA enforcement. Following its loss in May 2009 of a portable disk drive from a corporate office, Health Net of Connecticut, Inc. has become the first health plan to get popped by a state attorney general under the HITECH Act’s new enforcement provisions, which allow state AGs to enforce HIPAA’s penalty provisions for security violations.

Continue reading...