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Dec 23 2011   12:00AM GMT

Telehealth, the cloud and BI — oh my! Top 7 community blogs of 2011

Posted by: Jenny Laurello
BI, business intelligence, Cloud computing, Disaster planning, Disaster recovery, EHR, EHR Adoption, health information exchange, HIE, mHealth, RECs, Siri, telehealth

You’d be hard pressed to find a health care IT professional who wouldn’t agree that 2011 was a monumental year for HIT innovation, advancement, adoption and policy. The first electronic health record (EHR) incentive payments were doled out, stage 2 of meaningful use was delayed, ongoing HIPAA updates continued to impact key stakeholder groups and the Food and Drug Administration classified medical device data systems (MDDS) as Class 1 devices.

The industry also saw innovation in industry events that experienced record attendance numbers, such as HIMSS 11, ATA 11, RSNA and the mHealth Summit, to name just a few, and in game changing collaboration at both the state and federal levels making progress on data exchange, quality reporting measures enforcement (PQRS), and HIE and ACO establishment.

Here at the Health IT Exchange, our editorial and member contributors kept their fingers on the pulse of the industry, delivering hard-hitting, best-practice expertise for their colleges and peers. Below are the seven most popular blog posts from the community, touching upon just some of the prevalent industry trends, policy changes and market developments from 2011, and also shedding light on some of the key areas that health IT leaders should continue to watch as we head into 2012.

1.       Final MDDS rule deems hospitals medical device manufacturers: In this post, Site Editor Brian Eastwood discusses the Food and Drug Administration’s ruling of certain mHealth applications and devices with clinical decision support integration as Class 1 medical devices.

After a three-year wait, the FDA has issued a final rule that reclassifies medical device data systems, or MDDS, as Class I devices that are subject to general regulatory control and exempt from premarket notification requirements.

2.       Top 7 steps for a successful business intelligence implementation in a meaningful use era: Health IT Exchange member contributor Reda Chouffani  walks readers through the necessary steps for taking full advantage of business intelligence (BI) and data analytics.

For a successful implementation of BI and in a patient-centric environment, there are many complex tasks that need to be addressed. With all the data that will be available to support improved outcome measures comes the responsibility of using the right business intelligence (BI) tools to assist with the analysis and trending of the data required for meaningful use stages two and three. In order to ensure that your BI initiatives are truly meaningful, you will need to follow these simple, critical steps.

3.       Five reasons why cloud computing is essential for health care: Guest contributor Kevin Dodson shares his perspective on why cloud computing and virtualization in health care are not going away any time soon. To the cloud!

Companies running on the cloud see lower costs, increased agility and improved ability to meet their business objectives. Given today’s pressures on health care, should we be prescribing a healthy dose of cloud computing to the health care industry? I think the answer is a resounding “YES.”

4.       Mind the gap: Connecting health care IT and disaster planning: FACHE member and consultant Christina Beach Thielst dives into disaster planning, highlighting key considerations that must remain on the table throughout the disaster preparedness strategy process.   

Today’s information infrastructures run some of the most critical elements of business and clinical operations in health care organizations.  One recent lawsuit, which accused a hospital of failing to adequately prepare for a catastrophe (Hurricane Katrina), highlights the challenge with disaster preparedness.  The case raises the legal standard by which hospitals and other health care entities may be judged and increases the risk of being sued over emergency preparedness — specifically, not being prepared for nearly every contingency. So where should a CIO or IT department start? 

5.       What would Siri mean to health care and how can it change the way we view EHRs?: Mobile health and mobile device adoption have had quite a year in terms of face time and innovation. Chouffani predicts what Siri, the iPhone’s scarily accurate, interactive voice command assistant, could mean for health care and the way clinicians interact with their EHRs.

With the release of iPhone 4S and the deployment of the new Siri as part of the iOS 5, it is clear that the new voice assistant will ultimately find a place in the health care industry. The only question that remains is, “in what capacity?”

6.       Veterans Affairs department leads the way in telehealth services: Associate Editor Anne Steciw provides an in-depth look at the VA’s telehealth initiatives and links to a video demonstrating how connected care and telemedicine are helping to take care of today’s veterans.

This morning a friend told me about a 60-year-old man who died suddenly of heart failure. What was interesting about his story is that he had a history of heart problems, and in the weeks leading up to his death he had told some friends about symptoms he was experiencing, but he never told the person who really needed to know: his doctor. A simple telephone call might have saved his life.

Telehealth services are designed to increase accessibility to care, and one federal agency is realizing the benefits. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) leads the way in telemedicine, offering three levels of telehealth services to its veterans.

7.       Views from the top: On health information exchange and RECs: In this Health IT Exchange Live Chat, experts from three state regional extension centers (RECs) stopped by to share their perspective on balancing the requirements of meaningful use compliance, ICD-10 migration and privacy updates while achieving health information exchange (HIE). The REC leaders also gave advice to end users working with local RECs for EHR adoption and integration.

Find out how the South Florida REC is communicating with physicians about data integration and how information exchange can help providers manage referrals. Also learn how Pennsylvania is bringing all the major stakeholders to the table, a crucial element in building trust, while providers in Rhode Island are being motivated to see the value of exchange.

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