Posts in Category: Affordable Care Act

The Best of HealthIT News: Week of 2/8/16  

Population health, Obamacare, and cost containment

Did you have a chance to check out the latest news from the healthIT community? Let us help keep you up to date on the stories you won't want to miss.

Companies Form New Alliance to Target Healthcare Costs

Hoping to hold down the cost of healthcare benefits, 20 large companies—including American Express, Macy’s  and Verizon—have come together to use their collective data and market power. Members of the new alliance will share data about employee healthcare spending and outcomes, possibly using the data to change how they contract for care. "Some members say they could even form a purchasing cooperative to negotiate for lower prices, or try to change their relationships with insurance administrators and drug-benefit managers," Yahoo news reports.

Federal Insurance Marketplace Signs Up Millions of New Obamacare Users

The Obama administration reports that approximately 12.7 million new patients signed up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or automatically renewed their policies during Obamacare's third annual open enrollment season. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, told the New York Times that the signups show that “marketplace coverage is a product people want and need.” Most of the plan selections were for people in the 38 states—more than 9.6 million—who used the federal website,, the Times reported. The other 3.1 million people were enrolled in states that run their own marketplaces.

Healthcare Economics: Court Allows Some Hospitals to Save Money by Classifying Themselves as Both Rural and Urban

While an earlier Health and Human Services (HHS) rule had barred both urban and rural classifications at once, a new federal appeals court ruling removed the barrier for dual hospital classification. The recent court decision applies only to hospitals within the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but some hope that—combined with an earlier similar decision in a different circuit—the 2nd Circuit Court's ruling will inspire HHS to change the regulation across the country. "The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services allows hospitals to classify themselves as rural (which providers typically leverage for discounts on drug purchases) while also classifying themselves as urban, (an important factor to attract qualified clinicians)," according to Reuters. 

Population Health: Hospital-based Wellness Centers Are Changing the Healthcare Model

Wellness centers housed in hospitals are helping communities prioritize preventive care and management of chronic conditions. The centers are part of the population health management model that focuses on preventing illnesses rather than simply treating them when and if they occur. The idea is to get patients to seek treatment before their conditions worsen, thus easing the burden on emergency rooms and acute care centers—and saving money.

Cost Control: Surgical Safety Checklists Can Save Lives and Reduce Hospital Stays

Surgical safety checklists—if implemented correctly—can save time, lives, and money. After the checklists were implemented, one study found, the average length of a hospital stay dropped from 10.4 days to 9.6 days. In addition, the checklists led to a 27 percent drop in the risk of death following surgery. Proper and consistent implementation is critical, however, for the checklists to work.

The Best of Cardio and Healthcare News for the Week of 2/1/16 

Trending topics in HealthIT

Leave the researching to us! LUMEDX surveys the top healthcare and health IT stories of the week.

Healthcare economics: Basing healthcare decisions on Medicare data might not be best practice

A recent study found that the correlation between total spending per Medicare beneficiary and total spending per privately insured beneficiary was 0.14 in 2011, while the correlation for inpatient spending was 0.267. “What that suggests is that policy for Medicare doesn’t necessarily make better policy for the privately insured,” one researcher told Health Exec.

Reducing readmissions among minorities: 7 population health strategies

A new guide from Medicare gives hospitals methods for addressing ethnic and racial healthcare disparities in readmissions. The guide comes amid increasing concerns about racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare outcomes, and frustration about federal penalties that some say unfairly punish providers in high-risk communities. 

Sharing of medical-claim data would be allowed under proposed #CMS rule

"Some medical data miners may soon be allowed to share and sell Medicare and private-sector medical-claims data, as well as analyses of that data, under proposed regulations the CMS issued," Modern Healthcare reports. "Quality improvement organizations and other 'qualified entities' would be granted permission to perform data analytics work and share it with, or sell it, to others, under an 86-page proposed rule that carries out a provision of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015" (#MACRA). 

Federal gender pay equity rule: What will it mean for healthcare industry?

Nearly 80 percent of hospital employees are women. How might they be affected by President Obama's recent announcement that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will begin requiring companies that employ 100 or more people to report wage information that includes gender, race, and ethnicity?

The price of healthcare miscommunication: $1.7B and nearly 2,000 lives

New research shows that healthcare miscommunication has cost nearly 2,000 lives, and was a contributing  factor in 7,149 cases (30 percent) of 23,000 medical malpractice claims filed between 2009 and 2013. Communication failures were also to blame for 37 percent of all high-severity injury cases.

Physical fitness can decrease mortality risk following first heart attack

Being physically fit may not only help to reduce the risk of heart attacks, but may also decrease the risk of mortality following a first heart attack, according to a new study. The study used multivariable logistic regression models to assess how exercise affected the risk of mortality at 28, 90, and 365 days after a heart attack.


The Best of Cardio and Healthcare News for the Week of 1/4/16 

Did you have a chance to check out the latest news from the cardiology and healthIT communities? Let us help keep you up to date on the stories you won't want to miss.

2016 may bring slower patient growth, higher wages, more expensive drugs

Late 2015 data support health systems' anticipation that the demand surge from patients newly insured under the Affordable Care Act would fade this year. Economists with the Altarum Institute say spending acceleration from the coverage expansion may have peaked last February. 

FDA clears Biotronik's peripheral stent 

The FDA has cleared Biotronik's Astron Peripheral Self-Expanding Nitinol Stent System, a device for improving luminal diameter in patients with iliac atherosclerotic lesions. The stent system is described as a self-expanding stent loaded on an over-the-wire delivery system. 

Patients increasingly turning to mobile health apps

More than 30 percent of consumers last year said they have at least one health app on their smartphones, and 60 percent are willing to have a video visit with a doctor through a mobile device, according to an online survey of 1,000 U.S. adults. An increased use of telehealth apps is one of the predictions for 2016 from the PwC Health Research Institute.

Diagnostic errors, measuring performance among top healthcare quality issues for New Year

Zeroing in on individual doctor performance, reducing diagnostic errors, standardizing performance measures, and rethinking the patient experience may be among the top agenda items for healthcare quality and safety leaders this year. There could also be a greater focus on individual doctor performance as it relates to value-based payment and quality reporting.

Family satisfaction increases when ICUs relax their visiting hours

A survey published in the American Journal of Critical Care shows patients benefit when families visit throughout the day and night. "These findings support open and patient-centered visitation guidelines in critical care settings," the researchers wrote.

Best of Cardio and Healthcare News: Week of 11/23/15  

Did you have a chance to check out the latest news from the cardiology community? We've captured the top industry stories from this week that you won't want to miss.

After Obamacare implementation, public still rates healthcare good or excellent

Implementation of the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) hasn’t changed how Americans rate their healthcare, according to a new Gallup poll. More than half of the respondents rated their healthcare good or excellent, but less than 24 percent were satisfied with healthcare costs. Healthcare coverage was rated positively by only 33 percent.

Diagnostic ECG waveform reading in Carestream Vue Motion viewer cleared by FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given clearance for diagnostic reading of electrocardiogram (ECG) waveforms on mobile tablets and desktop displays using Carestream’s Vue Motion universal viewer. The new capability would allow physicians to give faster responses to ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and other serious heart conditions. It would also allow physicians to simultaneously view current and prior ECGs using tools that include pan, zoom, line measurement, caliper, and gain and speed adjustments.

Cardiac outcomes improved after using intravascular ultrasound in stent implantation

After one year, patients with long coronary lesions who were implanted with an intravascular ultrasound-guided everolimus-eluting stent had a significantly lower rate of major adverse cardiac events compared with those implanted with an angiography-guided stent, according to “Patients were implanted with an everolimus-eluting stent (Xience prime, Abbott Vascular) for long coronary lesions and randomized to receive intravascular ultrasound-guided or angiographic-guided stent implantation immediately after their pre-PCI angiogram,” the site reports. One year later, 2.9 percent of patients undergoing intravascular ultrasound-guided stent implantation suffered major adverse cardiac events, compared with 5.8 percent of patients in the angiographic-guided group.

Cardio-diagnostic processes improve with smart ECG stethoscope attachment

Rijuven’s CardioSleeve for Pediatrics, the first device that adds electrocardiogram (ECG) capabilities to transform stethoscopes into smart, mobile-connected devices, has been cleared by the FDA. The device, which can be attached to any stethoscope, can analyze for arrhythmia or murmur and identify heart failure. 

Number and severity of migraine headaches reduced by dual antiplatelet therapy following transcatheter ASD closure

The use of dual antiplatelet therapy consisting of clopidogrel and aspirin–as opposed to aspirin alone–led to fewer and less severe migraine headaches for patients undergoing transcatheter atrial septal defect (ASD) closure. That’s according to a randomized, double-blind trial. About 15 percent of patients had new-onset migraine episodes following transcatheter ASD closure, previous studies found. 

Remote monitoring system for patients with implantable pacemakers gets FDA approval

The first app-based remote monitoring system in the U.S. for patients with implantable pacemakers–called MyCareLink Smart Monitor–was approved by the FDA on Nov. 17. The system, manufactured by Medtronic, has a mobile app that is available for free on Android and Apple platforms. It also features a handheld portable device reader.

Best of Health IT News: Week of 11/21/13 

Did you have a chance to check out the latest healthcare IT news stories around the Web? We’ve captured the top industry news stories from this week that you won’t want to miss. 

ACA, Health IT Changing Job Landscape 

Healthcare IT News reports on how the Affordable Care Act and the adoption of healthcare IT has changed the job landscape by opening up more positions for records technicians, medical assistants, patient navigators, and other frontline and nonclinical positions in the healthcare industry. 

The Golden Age of Healthcare Informatics? 

InformationWeek discusses the proliferation of healthcare informatics use, and how more and more providers are switching to electronic systems. The article identifies areas in which healthcare IT vendors, planners, managers, and developers should be focused. 

How federal cybersecurity measures can apply to healthcare 

Government Health IT reports on the issue of security within the healthcare industry. According to a 2012 study from the Ponemon Institute, 94% of healthcare organizations have reported at least one HIPAA breach. Because of this, healthcare organizations need to be proactive and perform audits and assessments. 

California EHR Adoption Increasing, but Other Health IT Use Lagging 

A report from the California HealthCare Foundation found that the number of doctors in California using EHRs increased from 37% in 2008 to 59% in 2013. However, only 30% of hospitals have EHRs that meet all the 12 requirements of meaningful use. 

Best of Health IT News: Week of 10/31/13 

Did you have a chance to check out the latest healthcare IT news stories around the Web? We’ve captured the top industry news stories from this week that you won’t want to miss.

Focus on the Patient, Not the Device 

Dr. Iverson Bell spoke at the AHIMA Convention and Exhibit in Atlanta and discussed how doctors should adapt to the proliferation of mobile devices in their lives and practices. His tips include incorporating digital technology into a practice workflow, maintaining security, and engaging patients with digital technology. 

Sebelius Takes Responsibility for, Vows Fixes 

Government Health IT covers the big news this week, which is the problematic website. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has claimed responsibility for the issues and states that "the application at this point does not work end-to-end very well." 

Docs Making Strides on Data Exchange 

According to Healthcare IT News, a new study has found that the majority of office-based physicians are now able to view lab results and send medication data electronically. The study from the ONC goes on to state that adoption of an EHR is the single strongest predictor of an electronic exchange capability for e-prescribing, lab test viewing or ordering, and exchanging clinical summaries. 

8 Ways to Manage Change, Not Just HIT Implementation 

Over at FierceHealthIT, the chief medical officer for Healthcare IT Leaders discusses eight things that are a critical part of managing change associated with healthcare IT. 

Best of Health IT News: Week of 10/24/13 

Did you have a chance to check out the latest healthcare IT news stories around the Web? We’ve captured the top industry news stories from this week that you won’t want to miss.

4 things to know about how consumers perceive and use HIT

Government Health IT covers the four priorities that providers and policymakers need to keep in mind, including access priorities, access extent, HIE, and how patients can access healthcare information. 

Non-profits sets new standards for modular EHRs

InformationWeek discusses how the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative just achieved all three Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements for its in-house EHR system.  

Obamacare goes live: healthcare cloud computing in action 

The big news in the healthcare IT space this week is the announcement that online enrollment of government-approved healthcare exchanges under the Affordable Care Act has gone live. 

Health IT takes hold around the world

Healthcare IT News shines the spotlight on four healthcare IT initiatives from around the world and shares experiences, insights, and learnings. 

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