This Week in Cardio and Health IT News

EHR developments, top hospitals list, and more

Here are some of this week's top stories in cardiology and health IT.

Big names in healthcare pledge to facilitate interoperability, EHR accessibility

The Obama administration has announced an agreement to increase interoperability by top U.S. health information technology developers and many of their larger customers. Signing on to the pledge--which requires signees to ease patient access to electronic health records--were Allscripts, Athenahealth, and Cerner Corp., among others. About 90 percent of U.S. hospitals use at least one of the vendors who signed on. 

Top 100 Hospital List released by Truven

Truven Health Analytics has released its list of the 100 top hospitals in the United States. In researching the hospitals, Truven discovered a trend toward reduced expense per patient among the majority of top-performing hospitals. This year's trend appeared for the first time in the awards' 23-year history. 

More patients survive when hospitals adhere to cardiac arrest protocol

Hospitals that closely followed recommended care protocols after in-hospital cardiac arrest (IHCA) had the highest survival rates. That's the conclusion of a new study published in JAMA Cardiology, which found that more than 24,000 lives could be saved annually if all hospitals operated at the level of the highest-scoring provider. 

Payer-provider collaborations called key to improved patient outcomes 

Payers and hospitals must overcome their differences to reduce readmissions, according to a special report by FierceHealthcare.com. "As providers increasingly move toward value-based care models, they must work with their counterparts in the payer sector to coordinate care and prevent readmissions," the report says. "But the transition is proving bumpy in some cases due in part to the historic mistrust between payers and providers."

Questioning whether readmission rates are a reliable care quality measure

Hospital readmission rates are not an outcome, but a measure of utilization, says one Harvard School of Public Health professor. He pointed to new federal research demonstrating that hospitals don't use observation status as a way to create the appearance of decreased readmissions, which had been a concern prior to the research. Readmission rates can decline for a number of reasons, including difficulty in being readmitted or better hospital-to-patient communication, he says.