A LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies survey revealed that 80% of the 150 largest nonprofit senior living providers in the US had implemented EHR systems in 2016, a 5% increase over the past two years. A follow-up survey showed that 30% of large senior living facilities classified their EHRs in the top two tiers of CAST's seven-stage EHR adoption model and just 4% put them in the bottom two tiers, while 23% of other long-term and post-acute care facilities classified their EHRs in the top two tiers of adoption and 20% put them in the bottom two tiers.
Integrated health system Kaiser Permanente will invest in telehealth technology for mental health as part of its settlement agreement with the California Department of Managed Health Care, after a $4 million fine for failure to provide adequate access to mental health services. The company will add and update therapy rooms with advanced technology for video consultations and conferences, said Dr. Patrick Courneya, executive vice president and chief medical officer at the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals.
The number of health care organizations engaged in Direct exchange and served by DirectTrust's 129 health information service providers reached almost 100,000 in the second quarter of this year, a 68% increase from the same period last year. DirectTrust also experienced a 15% increase in the number of trusted Direct addresses that were able to share protected health information, while exchange transactions reached a cumulative total of more than 241 million at the end of the second quarter.
Americans will have fewer places to ask for help when signing up for coverage through public insurance exchanges after the Trump administration terminated contracts that provided Affordable Care Act enrollment assistance in libraries, businesses and neighborhoods in 18 cities. The move will make it more difficult for the uninsured and those already enrolled to shop for a new policy amid consumer confusion arising from the debate in Washington, D.C., and a shorter enrollment period, consumer groups say.
Some hospitals, including Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, have launched digital health accelerators that allow them to outsource technology development while maintaining some control over the final product. Cedars-Sinai and partner Techstars offer startups mentoring, pilot project opportunities and $20,000 up front plus an optional $100,000 grant in exchange for a 6% equity stake.
Uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act is leaving insurance exchange officials unable to inform the public about how many insurers will offer plans and at what levels they will set premiums for next year. "The only thing right now keeping everyone on edge is what's going to happen in Washington, D.C.," said Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller.
Health care organizations should coordinate better care and reduce consumer burden by improving their processes for patient-data access measures, according to the ONC's "Improving the Health Records Request Process for Patients" report. The agency recommends allowing patients to request and receive records through their patient portal or another electronic means; improving usability with e-verification, plain language instructions and status updates; and encouraging patients to use portals by promoting easy services such as online appointment-scheduling.
Officials from Peachtree Neurological Clinic in Atlanta reported that, while investigating a recent ransomware incident, they discovered a hacker had accessed their electronic health-records system between February 2016 to May 2017. Data that were possibly compromised include patients' names, medical data, health insurance data, prescriptions, addresses, phone numbers, driver's licenses and Social Security numbers.
The CMS' proposed Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System rule for 2018 is "poorly designed" and does not "propose relief" from the Meaningful Use Stage 3 reporting requirements, which could "do real damage to patients' access to care," according to the American Hospital Association. "The mandate for all hospitals and critical access hospitals to switch to new EHR functionality and report for a full year is unattainable and is at odds with the meaningful use flexibility proposed for eligible clinicians in the Quality Payment Program proposed rule," wrote AHA Executive Vice President Tom Nickels.
NewYork-Presbyterian introduced its Pediatric Urgent Care telehealth service, which will be facilitated by a board-certified pediatric emergency doctor, aimed at boosting diagnosis and treatment of conditions such as cough, fever, pink eye, vomiting and skin rashes, said Dr. Rahul Sharma of NewYork-Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center. The hospital intends to deploy the service, which will cover New York state patients, in Florida, New Jersey and Connecticut eventually.