The Best of Health IT News: Week of 3/21/16

Interoperability, EHRs, McKesson layoffs and more

EHRs: Interoperability is all the rage. Why don't we have it?

Health & Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell recently announced that HHS is behind a major push to achieve interoperability of Electronic Health Records (EHRs). "Companies that provide 90 percent of EHRs used by U.S. hospitals, including Epic and athenahealth, have agreed to increase patient access, no information blocking, and adoption of federally recognized interoperability standards," reports Healthcare Dive. But will those goals improve patient care and EHR workflow?

McKesson announces layoffs, to shed 1,600 U.S. employees

McKesson plans to lay off about 1,600 employees, or about 4 percent of its U.S. workforce. The restructuring move is predicted to cost the company $300 million to $330 million.

AHIMA petitions White House on national patient identifier

The American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) is petitioning the White House to recognize the need for a national patient identifier. "The petition asks that legislative language be removed that stops the Department of Health and Human Services from funding efforts to find a national patient ID solution," reports FierceHealthIT. "AHIMA also wants leaders in the government to work with the private sector and security experts on a path to a voluntary patient safety ID."

Another legal defeat for faith-based health systems with pension plans

Federal appeals courts continue to side against faith-based health systems, which may soon be forced to contribute millions into underfunded employee pension plans. The issue of whether those pension plans are subject to federal protections involves major health systems including Dignity Health, Presence Health and Catholic Health Initiatives. It could end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

5 ways artificial intelligence is changing the face of healthcare

A recent report by Frost & Sullivan predicts the Artificial Intelligence (AI) market in healthcare will reach $6 billion by 2021, up from just $600 million two years ago. With the shift to a value-based reimbursement model, hospitals and providers are looking for new ways to increase efficiencies and improve patient outcomes, according to Healthcare Dive. "Cognitive solutions such as IBM’s Watson system can assess huge amounts of patient data, provide guidance and decision support, and improve clinical workflow."