This content is part of the Essential Guide: Conference guide: News and analysis from HIMSS 2014
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HIMSS 2014: IT support for meaningful use, ICD-10, HIPAA top of mind

Federal regulations and incentives behind HIPAA, ICD-10 and meaningful use stage 2 are driving conversation at HIMSS 2014.

Perusing the HIMSS 2014 session schedule and exhibitor lineup, as well as noticing all the CMS and ONC authorities in attendance, it's clear CIOs need to focus on the IT support of three major federal initiatives while taking in health IT's biggest trade conference: changing systems from ICD-9 to ICD-10, meeting meaningful use stage 2 criteria and securing data for HIPAA compliance.

HIMSS 2014 offers a minimum of six sessions daily focused on meaningful use.

As if the typical IT hassles aren't stressful enough, this year adds that triple threat to healthcare CIOs' plates. Deadlines and regulatory compliance force them to interface with vendors to confirm that upgrades are ready. At the same time, they must consult with software compliance officers to make sure rules are followed. Finally, they need to ensure project managers meet the necessary deadlines.

Many hospital and medical practices have already finished their move into the new updated ICD-10 coding sets, or they're preparing to flip the switch prior to the October deadline. Some are just starting the process of evaluating and understanding the impact that ICD-10 will have on their organization. It will be a very busy year as billing, clinical documents, workflows and reporting see significant process changes with ICD-10.

HIMSS 2014 offers several sessions for healthcare providers who are still playing ICD-10 catch-up, including one in which CMS will discuss the October 1 compliance date and key steps to ensure a successful transition.

For meaningful use, this is the last year eligible physicians and hospitals can participate in meaningful use stage 1. While there has been a high adoption rate of EHR, for the ones that have delayed the process, this year is their last chance to meet meaningful use stage 1 and some of its easy to implement measures. And stage 2 attestation starts this year. HIMSS 2014 offers a minimum of six sessions daily focused on meaningful use, offering content and lessons learned for the different stages. For IT leaders who feel these deadlines are putting undue pressure on healthcare providers, a recent announcement of delaying the submission of meaningful use by one month will be welcome news.

Another area getting the same attention is HIPAA, what with HHS's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) commencing HIPAA audits after the conclusion of last year's audit pilot program. As we continue to read about data breaches and incidents at both medical practices and hospitals, now OCR will begin to actively audit them to ensure their compliance. At the HIMSS conference, the title of one data-privacy session says it all: "HIPAA Compliance: Stepping It Up in 2014."

About the author:
Reda Chouffani is vice president of development with Biz Technology Solutions Inc., which provides software design, development and deployment services for the healthcare industry. Let us know what you think about the story; email or contact @SearchHealthIT on Twitter.

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