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The pains of health information exchange, and other news

Health information exchange (HIE) represents a cornerstone of federal health IT policy. As our FAQ on health information exchange indicates, HIE is poised to alter dramatically– and for the better — the way organizations share key patient data. The intended results of this data sharing, of course, are the improvement of patient care and the reduction of medical errors.

HIE is easier said than done, however. Federal stimulus funding for HIE initiatives in fact is just that — a stimulus — and states are finding that they need more than what federal grants cover. The solution in Texas has been a public-private health information exchange that brings insurers and vendors to the table, as well as government officials and consumers. Will others follow the Texans? Stay tuned.

Check out the rest of last week’s coverage:

Meaningful use criteria, and other HITECH Act rules to know — The HITECH Act set in motion a series of rules to govern health IT, from meaningful use criteria to breach notification. This tip lists those rules, giving the status of each one, as well as the date it goes into effect.

Two more Beacon Community grants up for grabs The ONC is set to award $30.3 million in two more Beacon Community grants. The first round gave $220 million to 15 health care institutions.

What is telemedicine, and how does it affect health IT? — Telemedicine has been around for more than 40 years. Nowadays it intersects with health IT in many areas, including interoperability, privacy and security. Not surprisingly, it requires a robust health IT infrastructure.

Dell, others jumping into iPad tablet computer market — The Streak and the Slate, from Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. respectively, will enter the tablet computer market later this year. The hype around them may not match that around the iPad, but their relevance for health care may greatly exceed the iPad’s.

Doctors worry HIPAA Privacy Rule compliance piles on burdens — A recent Medical Group Management Association survey suggests that a vast majority of doctors don’t know whether their electronic health record systems will allow them to comply with various requirements under the HITECH Act.

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