A weekly digest of the latest news in the healthcare industry
HHS Releases Final Rule on HIXs- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its final rule for state-based Health Insurance Exchanges (HIXs) under the federal health reform law on Monday. Under the law, states must create HIXs that provide coverage options for individuals and small businesses by January 2014. States may either run their own HIX, or ask the federal government to run it on their behalf. The 633-page final rule intends to give states flexibility in developing their exchanges.
Smartphone Disease Surveillance- The Kenya Ministry of Health and researchers from the Kenyan Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a study on gathering disease information with smartphones. They found that after the initial setup cost, administering questionnaires and collecting data on smartphones is actually cheaper than paper surveys. It costs about $61,830 to establish and run a paper-based system over two years, but only $45,546 for a two-year smartphone program. They found that fiver percent of the paper-based surveys were incomplete, whereas only three percent of the smartphone surveys were incomplete. The study also revealed that seven of the paper-based questionnaires were had duplicated patient ID numbers, whereas there were no duplicates when using the smartphone.
Tablets Improve Internal Medicine Resident Efficiency- A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found internal medicine residents were more efficient when given tablets to access medical journals, contact labs and other departments, view EHRs and show patients their X-rays and test results. The results of the study showed that 90 percent of the residents routinely used the table for clinical duties. Seventy-eight percent felt more efficient using a tablet, and 68 percent believed the tablet helped prevent delays in patient care.
The EHR Adoption Lag- A study published in Health Affairs found that hospitals that are not eligible for meaningful use incentive payments are less likely to adopt EHRs. The incentive program excludes some providers, such as home health agencies, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, long-term acute care hospitals and nursing homes. The study, which analyzed data from 2009, found that 12 percent of short-term acute care hospitals adopted at least a basic EHR system whereas only six percent of long-term acute care hospitals, four percent of rehabilitation hospitals and two percent of psychiatric hospitals did the same. Without an incentive program, some of these organizations may not see the benefit of adopting EHRs.
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