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Meaningful Health Care Informatics Blog


April 8, 2010  8:44 PM

Open Government Plan increases transparency for CMS



Posted by: RedaChouffani
BI, CMS, HHS, Open Government

On April 7th, 2010, several federal departments put forward plans to make available certain operational data to the public. In an effort to enable more opportunities for citizens to participate and create more government transparency.

In the 29 federal departments listed in the White house web site, the department of health and human services has committed to enable the public to review visually the Medicare spending with an interactive reporting tools.

While most of the information originates from patient surveys and medical payments made from 2006 through 2010, the digital dashboard  available here provides an unprecedented ease and transparency for CMS.

Visiting Data.Medicare.gov also provides additional data that can be either downloaded, or viewable directly on the website. Information ranging from Patient survey results to databases displaying the average payments by Medicare for each medical condition or surgical procedure at a hospital. These tools maybe very valuable to many executives who are seeking to review and compare what some of the local or regional hospitals are doing.

Data or information plays an important role for every industry including healthcare. By enabling some operational transparency, many can now utilize these data sets to visualize the information, and effectively review how CMS or other entities are operating.

March 31, 2010  7:20 PM

ePrescribing now to include Controlled substance



Posted by: RedaChouffani
biometric RX, Controlled substance, eperscribing

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act have clearly encouraged the adoption of electronic health records for many health organizations, with the availability of financial incentives. And up until last week, it has also encouraged new regulatory changes that will bridge the gap of full electronic prescription.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) interim final rule on e-prescribing of controlled substances. This news has been welcomed by man EHR adopters ranging from primary care physicians all the way to emergency departments across the country.

While this ruling once finalized will eliminate the use of paper based prescription, it is important to keep in mind that the evidence of forgery and alteration that pharmacies use to identify illegitimate paper prescriptions do not exist in an electronic record. This clearly creates bigger challenges to ensure the authenticity of the electronic prescription.

In order to ensure authenticity of the electronic prescription, the DEA is requiring in this interim final rule that the authentication credential use two-factors from (something a provider knows, something provider has, and something a provider is).

With the availability of several technologies in the market place such as: randomly generated codes or passwords sent via text messages to mobile phones (which many banks have been using successfully), palm scanners that have been helping with the “red flag” rules (palm scanners are known to have much less false positives than fingerprint readers), traditional fingerprint readers, Retina scanners, hard tokens and several other biometric methods. Many hospitals have already adopted biometric identification systems as outlined in a security survey report from HIMSS in 2009. The results show that19 percent of the hospitals surveyed are already using Biometric technologies.

This ruling will enable the prescription to become a fully paperless workflow. Currently the interim final rule includes a 60 day comment period.


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